Tuesday, August 20, 2013

99 Cents is the New Free

When Amazon first introduced KDP Select in late 2011, I decided to give it a try. Of course this meant pulling my books from all the other sites they were listed on, and I wrestled with the decision at first. Then I stuck a toe in to see what one of my books would do. The results were impressive. At the time I was trying to build my fan base and get noticed. KDP Select did this for me in a multitude of ways.  

Early on, the KDP Select program worked wonders for my books. Every book I had in the program made it to #1 on the free books list during its free promotional days. And when the novel came off its free days, it did even better because I was making money. I made the top 100 list in the entire kindle store several times over with almost all of my books. I even had a short story make it to number 1 on the Thrillers list. Life was good.

But times change, and as an author, you have to realize a lot of what we do is trial and error. The same can be said for the vendor sites where we list our books. I’ve come to accept change comes fast and often, many times with no forewarning. Adapting to it isn't always fun, but to succeed, it's always necessary.

Amazon has been a blessing to authors, especially those who are brand new, trying to get their first book out. I’ve always expressed my gratitude for all they’ve done, and I’ll continue to do so because a great deal of my own success as a bestselling author is because their door was open to me when I was on the brink of tying myself up with a legacy publisher.

I've been a strong advocate for KDP Select, but for me, it's time to get out of the program.


If you’ve been in the program and are a successful, established author, you already know why. At some point Amazon started changing their algorithms. This meant when a book came off the free list, instead of seeing a huge spike (a lower book ranking) as well as a nice increase in book sales, it wasn’t happening anymore, not to the extend I'd grown accustomed to. For a while, they tinkered with it, but recently I've been seeing a meager spike, fewer sales. Amazon is trying something different. Maybe short-term, maybe forever, but for me it means it's time to try something different too.

In my opinion, a .99 promotion (not all the time, just as a sale) is the sweet spot right now, and I owe much of the recent success of my giveaways to BookBub. With over one million members, they’re a force I’m more than happy to reckon with, and I do, about once a month. I know, it's expensive. For me, it's still worth it because my genre has the most subscribers on their daily email list.
The best new trend I'm seeing as a direct result of running a BookBub promotion is sales on other sites such as Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Sony Kobo, all as a result of making my books available again on multiple venues. Three weeks ago I ran an ad for my boxed set. I made the USA Today Bestsellers List one week later. And that wasn't even close to the best week the set has had since I released it over a year ago. However, the fact the book was listed on multiple vendor sites instead of just one made me eligible for the list.
I suppose the entire point of this article is to woo you into trying something new no matter what you are currently doing. Stick to what works and then magnify it. I abhor change. I am more than happy to stick with the same old, same old. I go to a restaurant, and my husband can order for me. I'm a Plain Jane when it comes to food. But when it comes to marketing my books, the extrovert buried somewhere inside comes out to play. 
Take risks.
Try new things.
Even if it's just once. Get out there!

As a side note, if you are new, if you are publishing your first book, I still suggest giving KDP Select a try, even if it's only for three months. The reason why I because no one knows you. You are not established. Not yet. I attribute a good portion of my followers to readers who found me when they downloaded my books during a free promotion. Before that, they didn't have the slightest idea who I was. But it's easy to take a risk when the risk is free, isn't it? Use those free days to get noticed. That’s what they’re for. And when you've added a little more seasoning to your steak, branch out.

Honestly, a year from now I’ll likely be writing an article about a whole different trend, something else I'm trying. And that’s okay. I tend to do what’s in the best interest of my books. And so should you. 
Best of luck, and may you sell a lot of books--I believe in you! 

No comments: