The Great Leviathan AKA Amazon and how to sell your books

Amazon is frequently portrayed as the great Leviathan, a monster who devours independent publishers and authors without mercy. Amazon may well have grown to big for it’s boots, the company is, however a great way for authors to promote their work.

Last year I self-published my collection of short stories, “The First Time” using authorsonline.co.uk, a self-publishing company. Initially “The First Time” appeared on a multiplicity of sites including Smashwords, Google Books and the great Leviathan itself! Months past and not having sold a single copy (actually I tell a lie as one book was downloaded by myself in order to check how it read on my Kindle)! I determined to make “The First Time” exclusive to Amazon and enrol it in Amazon’s KDP Select Programme which allows authors to promote their books free for upto 5 days in any 90 day period. I had already enrolled my other books (“Samantha”, “Sting In The Tail” and “An Act Of Mercy”) in the Programme and had an idea of what to expect. Enrolment of “Samantha” led to two 4 star reviews while “Sting In The Tail” has, thus far received one 4 star review. As at the time of writing “The First Time” has been downloaded 47 times as a consequence of it’s participation in KDP Select (the book is on free promotion from 4-8 October).

I believe in my books. When “The First Time” first appeared in serialised form back in 2012 it received a large number of likes and encouraging comments. However despite these encouraging signs “The First Time” languished on virtual book shelves until it’s enrolment in the KDP Select Programme.

The lesson I have learned is that however good one’s book is it is extremely difficult to get noticed unless you are lucky enough to be an established author. I have done all the things recommended by social media experts (E.G. use of Twitter and Facebook) to promote my books, however I’ve found that the use of KDP Select is the most effective way of bringing my books to the attention of a wider audience. Blogging and other social media are a great way of letting people know that you are out there and interacting with readers and I derive enormous pleasure from such interaction, however when push comes to shove it has in my experience been Amazon which has moved books from their virtual shelves into the hands (do I mean virtual hands?) of my readers. I’d certainly recommend blogging and the use of other tools but you should, in my opinion give serious consideration to the KDP Programme.

“The First Time” is free to download in the Kindle store until 8 October, http://newauthoronline.com/2013/10/04/free-book-promotion/

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