Guest post by author Daniella Bova.
Daniella’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Daniella-Bova-929035987122461/
This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. This week I am celebrating my success in getting a Real Live Author, Daniella Bova, to write a guest post for me. The post is quite long, so if you are doing Celebrate and are pressed for time, you may just read the first 300 or so words and make your comment, especially if you are a non-writer who may not find the topic interesting. ~Nissa Annakindt
Writing a novel was one of the most challenging endeavors I’ve ever undertaken. Writing is hard work. It’s also very rewarding, but again, it’s quite a lot of work. Did I mention that it’s work? Hard work. Yes, hard!
Joking aside, whether you are traditionally published, or have taken the independent route, your book (or books) have to be some of your proudest accomplishments. I know mine are.
Unfortunately, being published is only the end of the beginning. After our books go live on Amazon or become available in bookstores, many of us find that the hard part has doubled in size. If we have more stories inside us waiting to get out, we need to write them, don’t we? Now, in addition to the work of writing, we must also find a way to advertise our already published works. If we want readers to find us and buy our books, we have to let them know we are out there!
That’s where the promotion part comes in. Authors, especially Indie authors, must promote our own work. After all, the act of making a book available online, or even in bookstores, doesn’t mean it will be automatically be found by an audience. In order to connect with potential readers and future fans we must find a way to get noticed.
Publishing exclusively with Amazon and enrolling books in the KDP Select Program.
I have found that this is the best choice for me, and so, my post today will deal with Amazon.
I have two published novels available for sale, and all of them are enrolled in KDP Select. This means that for a period of 90 days, I agree not to sell my books through any online store or market other than Amazon. If, at the end of 90 days, I’m unhappy with KDP Select, I may un-enroll any or all of my titles. This would allow me to publish in other marketplaces.
Following are a few of the benefits of a Kindle Countdown Deal:
1) They’re time-based: Not only does this give you more control over how long your book is discounted, but the time remaining for the promotion is visible to customers to increase excitement for the price discount.
2) Customers see the regular price: It’s easy for customers to see the great deal they’re getting, as the regular price is included on the book’s detail page, right beside the promotional price.
3) Royalty rate is retained at lower prices: You will earn royalties based on your regular royalty rate and the promotional price. As a result, if you are using the 70% royalty option, you’ll earn 70% even if the price is below $2.99.
4) There’s a dedicated website: Customers can discover active Kindle Countdown Deals at http://www.amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals.
5) You can monitor performance in real time: Your KDP report will display sales and royalties at each price discount side-by-side with pre-promotion performance.
Free Book Promotions.
It may seem strange to give away your book, but IMO free promotions are the way to go. This is because as a newly published independent author, nobody knew me. When I offered my book for free, people downloaded it just because it was free! And some of them read the book, presumably based on reviews.
Reviews are another subject, deserving a separate post. Suffice to say, they are necessary. All reviews are welcome and appreciated, however critical reviews do help.
It’s very important to have reviews on Amazon because many book promotion sites require a certain number of reviews before they will agree to promote your book. (More on this to come).
So get some reviews! Click here for suggestions and tips.
Free Promotions vs Kindle Countdown Deals.
As I already mentioned, at this time in my writing career, offering my books free for a limited time generated more sales and more money than a Kindle Countdown Deal. I’m a newbie. I hope to publish many more books before I leave this world, but as of now, I have two novels and one short story for sale.
Authors with more titles will, of course, have different experiences than mine, but here’s what happened to me when I set up a Kindle Countdown Deal for Tears Of Paradox, book one in my series.
Despite spending $75.00 to list the Countdown Deal on several book promotion sites, I sold… wait for it… a grand total of 7 books. Yes, you read that right. 7 books. I lost money. And to add insult to injury, in addition to the promotional sites I paid to list my book, I spent hours contacting other promotors who will graciously promote books free of charge. None of this helped me, though!
My book was listed at the reduced price of 99 cents, yet people didn’t take a chance on me, for whatever reason. So, until I have a bigger audience, I will not set up another Kindle Countdown Deal.
Before I go on, I must mention the many book promotion sites available to authors. Please click here for a list. As you can see, there are many avenues, almost too many to count. I’m sure everyone has a favorite.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “The Book Bub.”
Book Bub is the promotional site with the widest reach. They are also the most exclusive. I’ve gotten rejected by Book Bub a number of times, always with a form letter explaining that my books are not a “good fit” for “their” readers. It always makes me wonder who “their” readers are. Are their readers different than other readers? More educated? Cooler? Funnier? More hip? What is it? How can I be in the club?
The answer is that a percentage of Book Bub’s featured books are traditionally published offerings and bestsellers. They can afford to be exclusive, and they have the right to do business in any way they wish. I plan to continue offering to pay them to give my books away, since if they someday deem me a good fit for their readers, I will get a LOT of free downloads.
Just be aware that you may be rejected by the Book Bub. Don’t take it personally and keep trying!
Giving away your book can actually result in earnings, even if you pay for a listing.
This is what happened to me in December. After the failed Kindle Countdown Deal, I ran a free book promotion featuring book two of my series, The Notice. I had already decided not to spend hours and hours of valuable time contacting 30-40 different sites to feature the promotion, and I had already received my “not a good fit” rejection from Book Bub, so I decided to try a different strategy.
I had heard about another far-reaching promotional site called FreeBooksy, so I contacted them. FreeBooksy, unlike Book Bub, was willing to take my money, so I purchased a Science Fiction feature for $70.00. In addition to sharing the news that my book would be free on my personal Facebook page & Twitter (and also retweets and sharing by friends) FreeBooksy was my only promotional tool.
The FreeBooksy feature was responsible for the most successful promotion I’ve ever run. All in all 1,0000+ books were downloaded. This is a paltry number compared to a Book Bub feature, where authors report upwards of 30,000 downloads, but to me it was a success beyond measure.
Not only did folks download book two, a good number of people purchased book one at full price. I earned back 75% of what I had spent on the feature, just by sales of book one.
This brings us to Kindle Unlimited.
With Kindle Unlimited, subscribers pay $9.99/month and are able to read as many books as they choose to read.
Kindle Unlimited is a new service that allows you to read as much as you want, choosing from over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks. Freely explore new authors, books, and genres from mysteries and romance to sci-fi and more. You can read on any device. It’s available for $9.99 a month and you can cancel anytime.
Many of the people who downloaded The Notice for free are Kindle Unlimited subscribers. If a subscriber downloads your book (even though it’s offered for free) and then actually read the book, the author gets paid. The payment is based on the number of pages read, and amounts to about half a penny per page. Still, it adds up.
People who downloaded my free book are still reading Tears of Paradox and The Notice today. The money I have earned via Kindle Unlimited readers plus the sales of Tears of Paradox at its regular price paid for the FreeBooksy feature, plus more. Not too much more, but at least I wasn’t in the red after the free promotion, and I know people are reading the books. I even got a new review.
So, IMO, FreeBooksy is the way to go.
Websites, Blogging, Email Newsletters and Social Media.
Every author should have a website, where readers can find out more about them. In addition to my website, I can also be found on my blog, D Street. Here readers can interact if they would like to, by commenting on my posts. I, in turn, can share news about upcoming books, stories about my life, opinions, and anything else I feel would interest readers. I like blogging, and IMO it’s well worth the time I put into it.
My email newsletter is sort of… well, not going places. I find that it’s difficult to interest subscribers, and so, I’ve let it lapse. I may publish it quarterly if I can find a few hours every three months, but since I have only 25 subscribers, it’s not worth the time right now to send a month email.
But please, don’t let my experience dissuade you from giving a newsletter a try! Many authors rely solely on their newsletter to interact with readers, and it’s a valuable tool. I just haven’t figured out how to grow mine. Someday, I will.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and Instagram are all valuable as well, each in their own way. I would recommend finding the Social Media platform that you’re most comfortable with, and telling readers (via your website) how to find you.
Thanks to Daniella for this very useful post!