Tag Archives: kdp select

In Search Of The Elusive Book Review

Press the magic button labelled publish in the Amazon Kindle store or other self-publishing outlet of your choice. People will purchase your book and the reviews will come flooding in, won’t they? Well unless you are incredibly fortunate the answer is no they won’t. Even if your book receives a steady stream of downloads only a small number of readers (if any) will take the time to pen a review. This is the case, in my experience even when readers enjoyed your book. To take a case in point, two friends downloaded my story, Samantha, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI). Both told me how much they enjoyed reading my book and indicated they would review it without any prompting from me. Neither have done so and not wishing to nag friends I haven’t pursued the matter. So, in the case of Samantha 2 people who derived pleasure from it haven’t left a review which does, I believe prove my point regarding the difficulty of obtaining reviews which, if positive will help in selling your book. So how can the author obtain reviews?

I have obtained several reviews by offering my books free via KDP Select, (https://kdp.amazon.com/select), an Amazon programme which allows authors to promote their work free or at a reduced price for upto 5 days in any 90 day period provided the books in question are exclusive to Amazon. A number of those who downloaded my titles left reviews which shows that KDP Select can help in promoting your writing.

Another way in which to promote your books is via your own blog. Mentioning that you are running a free promotion on Amazon or other platform can encourage your followers and visitors to download and, hopefully review your books. A word of caution. Don’t fill your site with posts promoting your books as this will turn many people off. Write about topics other than your books. be generous in supporting other authors via guest posting opportunities and your site is more likely to thrive and attract followers some of whom will read and review your books.

Contacting book bloggers can also result in reviews. Read their review policy (if they have one) prior to getting in touch. If you write romantic fiction and a book blogger only reviews the crime genre there is no point in contacting the blogger (it being a waste of their time and yours).

The overwhelming majority of book bloggers will review your book free which is, in my view as it should be. Most authors would never dream of paying for a review. However, for the small number of writers who might be tempted to do so, they should consider this. If you pay for a review then the perception will exist (assuming it is positive and you are found to have paid) that the review is not honest (I.E. you paid for a good review). While there may be sites who write unbiased reviews in exchange for cash mud sticks and even if the review is 100 percent honest your reputation will be tarnished. People will question all your reviews irrespective of whether they where given freely or otherwise.

In conclusion relying on Amazon to generate reviews is the most uncertain method of gaining them. The use of your own blog or other social media to promote your books coupled with contacting book bloggers asking that they please write an honest review of your work, is the best method.

Finally a huge thank you to all of my readers who have taken the time to write a review or who have promised to do so. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read and review my books.

To Advertise Or Not, That Is The Question

As with most authors I am always on the look out for opportunities to gain more exposure for my books. I was interested therefore to read this article (https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/advertise-your-book-on-amazon-new-opportunity/) which highlights Amazon’s new programme allowing authors to advertise their books at a cost of $100.

On the one hand I am tempted to take advantage of this new opportunity. The potential benefits are obvious (increased exposure and, hopefully) sales of my books. If only a small percentage of authors take Amazon up on their new offering then they will, potentially have an advantage in terms of exposure for their works over those who do not.

On the other hand if significant numbers of authors avail themselves of Amazon’s new programme the potential book buyer will, I suspect be bombarded with advertisements so my books may become lost in a sea of virtual noise. It is hard enough to find one needle in a hay stack and if that mound of dry grass is chock full of sharp implements what are the chances of readers picking out my needle when there are so many other instruments from which to choose? I believe in my writing, however one good author among many other writers (many of whom are producing quality works), why, exactly should the book browser click on my ad in preference over that of another advertiser?

Prior to parting with one’s hard earned cash it is useful to pause and consider the many free alternatives to paid advertising. KDP Select (https://kdp.amazon.com/select) allows authors to promote their books free of charge for upto 5 days in any 90 day period or, alternatively to offer them in a Kindle Countdown Deal. Most of my books are enrolled in KDP Select and in my experience the programme does increase the exposure of an author’s work for, human nature being what it is most people jump at the opportunity of obtaining “something for nothing”. Many who download books advertised via KDP Select will not leave a review, however some will and good reviews possess the potential to increase the exposure of one’s books thereby (hopefully) enhancing sales.

The downside to KDP Select is that in return for enrolment the author must keep those works enrolled exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, (I.E. the books concerned may not be sold anywhere other than Amazon during that time frame). Another disadvantage is that while newly enrolled works will be downloaded (in my experience) relatively rapidly, once a book has been in the programme for some time it will, when on promotion receive fewer downloads than freshly enrolled titles, so the longer a publication is offered via the scheme the fewer downloads it is likely to receive.

Another way to gain free publicity for one’s books is by contacting fellow bloggers who advertise as offering guest posting opportunities and requesting that they provide you with a guest slot. (If a blogger is kind enough to let you guest post it is only polite to offer them the same opportunity on your own site). You can find a useful list of book bloggers here (http://bookbloggerlist.com/). The Story Reading Ape’s Blog also offers a wealth of useful material for authors and readers alike and can be found here, (http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/).

In conclusion I won’t be signing up for Amazon’s advertising opportunity at present. I will, however watch with interest how it develops and, in particular what those who use it have to say. At this juncture my view remains that free opportunities abound so why spend money on advertising when it could be spent on book covers, editing etc.

Fun With Amazon’s Author Central

I have never had a problem with Amazon until today. I had experienced difficulties in adding my collection of poetry and prose, “Dalliance” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QQVJC7E) to my Amazon author page (http://www.amazon.com/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0). I contacted Amazon asking that they please add Dalliance to my existing author page and, low and behold they created an entirely new page showing only “Dalliance” (all 6 of my previously published titles remaining on the correct author’s page).

I contacted Amazon this morning and they advise that “Dalliance” has now been added to my existing Author’s page. However, on last checking it does not seem to be there.

Every organisation does, of course make mistakes. Companies are, after all composed of fallible human beings. The above incident does, however underline the importance of checking that your Author page (if you have one) accurately reflects all of your works together with any other information provided by you to Amazon.

KDP Select – An Evaluation

The results thus far of the free promotion, using Amazon’s KDP Select programme (https://kdp.amazon.com/select), of my story, Samantha have been disappointing. For anyone unfamiliar with the programme, KDP Select allows authors with books enrolled in it to offer their titles free for 5 days in any 90 day period. As an alternative writers may sell titles at a reduced price (known as a Kindle Countdown Deal) for up to 5 days in any 90 day period. To qualify for KDP Select books must be exclusive to Amazon.

The free promotion of Samantha began on 19 November and ends on 23 November. Despite the book being free in the Kindle store and the kindness of other bloggers in publicising this fact, Samantha has, at the time of writing been downloaded 5 times from amazon.com and 3 times from amazon.co.uk. Both sites show that my book has sold 4 copies of Samantha (2 on both sites) in November.

The results thus far are causing me to evaluate the effectiveness of KDP Select. Samantha has a total of 6 reviews (counting both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Just over half of these have been generated by fellow bloggers while the remainder have eminated from people who, to the best of my knowledge have come across my book as a consequence of previous free promotions of Samantha. The position is roughly similar with my other titles (approximately half of reviews coming from bloggers and the remainder from readers who have, I assume come across my titles via KDP Select promotions).

The results of the current free promotion of Samantha are, as I say above disappointing. Where I to take a decision to remove Samantha and my other books from KDP Select the incentive to do so is compelling in terms of the current promotion. However, standing back and surveying the bigger picture, reviews have been forthcoming as a result of previous promotions, consequently I am not inclined to dismiss KDP Select out of hand. I will monitor how the remaining days of the free promotion of Samantha pan out and look at the results of the forthcoming free promotions of An Act Of Mercy and Street Walker to ascertain number of downloads together with any reviews generated. On the basis of these results I will take a decision regarding whether to keep my books enrolled in KDP Select. The evidence thus far seems to indicate (despite the current slow downloads of Samantha) that the use of both KDP Select free promotions and social media help in obtaining downloads and reviews.

 

(The 4 sales refered to above entail people purchasing Samantha, while free downloads are, as the name suggests just that – readers downloading Samantha at no cost).

A Thank You

My collection of short stories, Street Walker And Other Stories was free, in the Kindle Store from 25 February until 1 March. During the free promotion Street Walker was downloaded a total of 84 times (well give or take a download either way as I find it difficult to read the sales reports in KDP Select. Am I the only one who has this difficulty)! Irrespective of whether the number of downloads was 84, 83 or 85, many thanks to everyone who downloaded Street Walker. I hope you enjoyed reading my book and I would love to hear what you thought of it. Thank you also to all who reblogged the free promotion bringing it to the attention of a wider audience. The mutual assistance of bloggers is one of the great things about social media!

You can find Street Walker And Other Stories here, http://www.amazon.com/Street-Walker-other-stories-Morris-ebook/dp/B00HLRNDP4

Kindle Discount Deals – Do They Work?

Amazon’s KDP Select programme, https://kdp.amazon.com/select, offers authors the ability to promote their books free for upto 5 days in any 90 day period. Free promotions do, in my experience work. As a consequence of the free promotion of my story Samantha it received a respectable number of downloads together with 4 4 star reviews. Encouraged by the success of Samantha I determined to try out Amazon’s recently launched Kindle Discount Deals which, as the name suggests allows authors to offer their work at a reduced price. I offered my collection of short stories, An Act Of Mercy And Other Stories at the reduced price of 99 cents on amazon.com from 18-24 December. However, to my disappointment not a single copy of An Act Of Mercy did I sell.

What lessons (if any) do I draw from the above? Readers are more likely to download books which are free than those which are discounted unless you happen to be a household name or your book has attracted a number of 4 or 5 star reviews. I will consider using Kindle Discount Deals again. I will, however enrol Samantha or Sting In The Tail as both have attracted 4 star reviews.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the workings of KDP Select and other authors will, I am sure have different stories to tell (no pun intended)! As regards Kindle Discount Deals and other aspects of the KDP Select programme. As always I would be interested to hear the experiences of others.

For my Amazon Author’s Page please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Terms and Conditions Again!

I recently blogged about how I had, totally accidentally breeched KDP’s terms and conditions by my collection of short stories, The First Time, being available from an outlet other than the Amazon Kindle store (see http://newauthoronline.com/2013/10/20/terms-and-conditions/). One of the commenters on my post said that he had heard of other people experiencing this problem and that authors should be wary of publishing their work on a variety of platforms if they intended to make it exclusive to Kindle at a later date. I am inclined to agree with him given my recent experience! If you want to make your books exclusive to Amazon in order to benefit from the promotion features of KDP Select then I would, personally not publish your work elsewhere. Having said that my long short story, Samantha appeared on my blog prior to being made exclusive on Amazon. However I, naturally have control over my blog and was, as a consequence able to remove Samantha prior to making it exclusive to Kindle. Never again will I make the mistake of making my books available in a variety of stores when my intention is, at some point to make them exclusive to Amazon Kindle. It is, quite frankly not worth the hassle.