Enrol your e-book in Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program and you get two advantages:
- Amazon Prime members are able to borrow the book for free and this will generate a royalty payment for the author
- The book can be offered free for 5 days in every 90. Offering a book for free is supposed to generate large numbers of downloads which will then convert into reviews of the book on Amazon, which in turn will drive an increased number of sales.
There is also a downside to joining KDP Select – the e-book must remain exclusive to Amazon i.e. it cannot be sold on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc.
Many e-book authors swear by KDP Select and its advantages. They don’t see exclusivity as a disadvantage because Amazon is by far the biggest retailer of e-books.
I’m not sure. I’ve had e-books available in KDP Select for just over three months now and I’ve had only one Amazon Prime loan (it was in the US). So that doesn’t seem a massive benefit. Are any of you Amazon Prime members? I don’t know anyone who is.
I’ve run one free promotion. In the five days that One Day for Me was free, I had 135 US free downloads, 93 in the UK, 2 in Germany, 1 Japan and 1 Canada. As far as I can tell, only one review (it was in the UK) was written as a result and I noticed no increase in sales. This was despite spending an age adding my book to the many websites and Facebook pages that offer to list free e-books.
But I didn’t remove that book from KDP Select after the first 90 days, mainly because whilst I was dithering about what to do, the Amazon automatic re-enrol swung into action.
Looking on the bright side – maybe next time I’ll do better!
Which brings me nicely to my next KDP Select Promotion.
My second anthology Old Friends is free on all Kindle platforms for the next three days. Old Friends is a collection of 13 short stories. There are tales with a twist, stories about the ups and downs of family life plus a little romance. Perfect to enjoy with a cup of coffee and a biscuit! If you’re in the UK click here or in the US click here, otherwise search for ASIN B00BJIKIBI on any Amazon platform.
And as a special treat, One Day for Me is half price for the next three days too. One Day for Me is a collection of 8 short stories that have either won or been short-listed in UK writing competitions. If you’re in the UK click here or in the US click here, otherwise search for ASIN B00B4XCYJC on any Amazon platform.
I look forward to the reviews rolling in, followed by a tsunami of sales!
Since starting my own adventures in e-publishing I’ve started reading more self-published e-books. I’ve been doing this for two reasons:
- I want to see what types of thing people are publishing
- I want to support other writers in the same way that I’ve been supported
Taking the second point – the best way to support self-published authors is to give them a review. It doesn’t have to be a full-on 5 star rave about the book – just a few words to show that the book has been read and enjoyed (if you have enjoyed it, obviously).
A while ago I read and reviewed something which I enjoyed. The book had held my attention from beginning to end and I looked forward to picking up again each night (I generally only read at bedtime). There were some formatting errors in the text but they didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the narrative. So, when I left my review I didn’t mention these errors, I concentrated on the book’s literary content.
Now a comment has been added to my review, indicating that I should have pointed out the formatting problems and downgraded my star rating accordingly.
My first reaction to this was anger that someone had dared to criticise my opinion and I had to restrain myself from commenting back and thus getting into a public argument.
Now that I’ve had chance to calm down and think about it, I realise that I was probably wrong not to mention the formatting issues. However, my review was the first one for that book and I didn’t want to give it the kiss of death – but I did want to leave a comment to say that I’d enjoyed it.
What would you have done?
I’ve recently tried another book and found it contains several punctuation mistakes. So, I’m not going to leave a review at all, regardless of the quality of the story, because I don’t want to get a reputation for dishonest reviews.
I’ve learned a lesson from all this - ’Look Inside’ or download a sample of the book before buying to ensure that formatting, punctuation etc. is up to scratch.
Any tips on getting the most out of Goodreads, either as an author or a reader, would be gratefully received.
After all the wonderful advice I got on my previous post about cover design, I thought I’d got things under control in that department. But my attempt at a cover for my third book was so abysmal that I daren’t even show it to you here. Compared with similar books already on Amazon it looked very basic and most definitely amateurish.
I think this is because the book is non-fiction and therefore requires a very business-like cover to get anywhere near competing with the hundreds of other books on the same subject.
So I decided to call in the professionals. I used the website Fiverr. This site features hundreds (or maybe thousands even) of sellers offering their services for just $5. The range of services is vast from personalised greetings cards, translations and bespoke bedtime stories. But there are also lots of e-book cover designers on there too.
I picked one of the top-rated designers (like on EBay, buyers have to leave feedback on the service they received) and told her the title of the book, what it was about and a brief suggestion about the type of image that might be suitable (it is also possible to send the designer a specific photo if you have one that you want to include on the cover).
Two days later my cover design was delivered and you can see it on this post. It’s much better than I could produce. I’ve borrowed the title from a ‘column’ on the Open Writing website which runs an extract from this blog each week (the site includes lots of other writing from around the world, too).
A Writer on Writing is a compilation of 14 of my articles that have appeared in the UK writing press, such as Writing Magazine & Writers News, The New Writer, Writers’ Forum and Freelance Market News. They cover subjects as diverse as generating ideas, writing articles with an anniversary ‘hook’ and flash fiction.
As I did with my other books, I have set an introductory price of 77p - with a view to increasing it when I see how sales go. Setting the perfect price point to encourage buyers without devaluing the work involved in producing a book is very difficult. 77p is the lowest price point available to independent authors.
I’ll keep you posted on how my e-publishing empire is growing (or not as the case may be!).
Has anyone ever been on one of Lois Maddox’s ‘Relax and Write’ weekends?
I’m feeling excited because I’ve just booked ‘Writing the Mystery Novel’ with Eileen Robertson, in Leeds. It’s a birthday present from my mum (I had a big birthday a couple of weeks ago) and I’m really looking forward to it - even though it’s not until October.
A fellow Midlands writer, David Gough, has just been on a ‘Discover Travel Writing’ course with Lois’ organisation and gave me a glowing report about it.
So why did I choose mystery novel-writing? Two reasons:
- I enjoy crime/thriller/mystery novels and most of my TV viewing is in the same genre – anything from the ‘cosy’ crime of Midsomer Murders through New Tricks to the grittier Scandinavian dramas of The Killing and Wallander.
- I saw some interesting statistics on BookBub (a site which advertises special offer e-books to thousands of email subscribers). These showed that many more of their readers are interested in buying mysteries and thrillers than any other genre. At the time of writing they have 410,000 subscribers interested in these types of books compared to Romance, which is the next largest genre at 310,000 subscribers. If you’re interested in how other genres fare, have a look here.
I know that I won’t come back from Leeds a fully fledged mystery novelist but I hope to be inspired both by the course itself and the chance to mix with other writers (as well as having the chance to stay in what is described as 4-star venue).
Roll on October!
This question appears in Della Galton’s column in the current Writers’ Forum magazine. I thought I’d try to answer it using my own experience, with two anthologies published over the last six weeks or so.
I published One Day For Me on 23rd January and, as of 6th March, I have sold 63 copies, 3 on Amazon.com and the rest in the UK. Of the UK sales, 58 were at 77p each (giving me a 26p royalty each) and 2 were at £1.53 (giving me £1.03 royalty each). This has given me total UK royalties of £17.14.
I published Old Friends on 22nd February and, as of 6th March, I have sold 20 copies, all in the UK at 77p each. This has given me total UK royalties of £5.20.
So, financially, I say it has not been worthwhile. BUT I still have a lot to learn about e-book marketing and the inner workings of the great Amazon machine. So I’m hoping that once I get my head around that and also publish a couple more books that I have ideas for, sales will improve. In the meantime, if anyone knows how to get a foothold in the US market – please let me know!
Forgetting the financial side of it, there have been many other benefits from dipping my toe into e-publishing.
I’ve had lots of positive feedback from people who’ve read the books, particularly One Day For Me, in the form of Amazon reviews, emails and face to face. Also, I’ve learnt that those outside the ‘writing industry’ often don’t appreciate the importance of leaving reviews for books they’ve enjoyed – and many simply don’t know how to do it.
But the best thing to come out of this experience is the new respect that family, friends and work colleagues have for my writing. It is no longer just ‘a little hobby’. Instead it is something that has a tangible product which is on sale worldwide and which they can buy. This has made me feel more professional and less guilty about claiming to be a writer.
So, in summary – YES, the anthologies have definitely been worthwhile.
And if you buy one, I think you’ll find they’re a worthwhile read as well!
One Day For Me: 8 Award-Winning Stories - these stories have all either won or been shortlisted in UK national writing competitions.
Old Friends: 13 Coffee Break Stories - these stories have all previously appeared in UK magazines
So choose your favourite caffeine fix – latte, cappuccino, mocha ….
And which cake do you fancy? Lemon drizzle, chocolate fudge or fruit cake?
If you’re sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin.
Or I would if this was a ‘real’ instead of a virtual book launch. Then I could have the pleasure of meeting you all in the flesh and thanking you for all the support and positive comments about my first e-anthology. Plus I could read you one or two stories from the newly released Old Friends.
Instead I’ll just tell you about my second book and then you can visit Amazon and ’Look Inside’ or download the sample to get a real flavour of it…
Old Friends contains 13 short stories that have previously appeared in My Weekly, People’s Friend and The Weekly News. I’ve included tales with a twist, stories about the ups and downs of family life plus, of course, a little romance.
I hope this collection will bring a little escapism to your coffee break!
Or find it on all other Amazon sites by searching for ASIN B00BJIKIBI.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
It’s great to see so many of you here today – thank you for sparing the time to come along. There will be chocolate profiteroles and cream when I’ve finished speaking – so I’ll keep it short!
One Day For Me contains some of my writing successes from recent years – eight stories that have either won or been shortlisted in UK national writing competitions. The subject matter and characters are varied and include Wallis Simpson, an abused wife, a young girl making money from lost property and a pro-athlete struggling with the demands of her career.
I’m proud of these stories and I’d like to share them with you.
Of course, I didn’t work in isolation. I want to say a big thank you to my writing buddy, Helen Yendall , who read many of these stories when they were still a work in progress.
I also want to thank Marilyn Rodwell of the Birmingham RNA and our anonymous erotic writer member, who between them organised an inspiring workshop on e-publishing – without which I would never have got this project off the ground.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the followers of this blog who took the time to comment on my original cover design. I learned a lot from you all (which I will summarise in another post) – and I hope you agree with me that the finished cover is a vast improvement!
I now declare One Day For Me launched!
Now the waiters will circulate with the profiteroles – enjoy!