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Friday, July 27, 2012

What Can Indie Authors Learn from Steve Jobs and The Big Six?

Greetings and welcome to Self-Publishing Central.

I just came across some interesting information related to book pricing and simply HAD to share. Please read and consider the following:

Some evidence from the DoJ's antitrust case against Apple, et al --

"And in an email to one of the publishing execs, Jobs, according to court records, wrote that "all major publishers" had told Apple that "Amazon's $9.99 price for new releases is eroding the value perception of their products in customers' minds, and they do not want this practice to continue for new releases."

So...Mr. Jobs and the traditional publishing insiders were concerned about "value perception of their products"; so concerned that, allegedly, they engaged in illegal price fixing. 

Indie's should be concerned about value perception, too. Don't sell yourself short. Demand a reasonable price for your books.

The foregoing message has been my opinion...and of course, Steve Jobs' opinion as well. 

Thanks for stopping in.

Cheers!



John

My Source:http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/232900242

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kobo's Writing Life Direct ePub is Now Live!

ATTENTION: The long-awaited direct publishing access to Kobo's eStore is NOW LIVE. Publish your book directly with Kobo and earn up to 70% royalties.

Here's the link: http://writinglife.kobobooks.com

Cheers!

John

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Amazon KDP Select Lives - Part 2

Hello all. Thanks for stopping at Self-Publishing Central.

This post will give an update to my post from last week's discussion of why I believe the Amazon KDP Select program is still a viable way to get exposure, and sales, for your book.

Summary of giveaway results.


Over a period of three and a half days, using KDP's Free Promo option, I was able to give away more than 34,000 Kindle copies of THE 19TH ELEMENT. The vast majority were picked up by readers in the U.S. But there were over 600 books given away in Europe as well. While the book was free, it reached a Free Kindle Ranking of No. 13 overall and No.1 in Suspense and Thriller categories.

I decided to end what had been scheduled to be a five day free period when the pace of downloads slowed a bit at the end of day four. So the book was free for about three and a half days.

Paid results so far.

The results for book sales in the paid column have been great so far. As I mentioned in the earlier post, it was not possible to approach the Top 100 on Paid Kindle due to Amazon's new algorithms. But so far, the book has reached as high as No. 306 in Paid Kindle Rankings on the third day after ending the free promo. Since then, it has hovered between about No. 400 and No. 450 in the overall Paid Kindle Rankings. It is presently at No. 415 as I write this blog on day seven after the free promo.

In the Paid Kindle Suspense category, the book has ranked as high as No. 26 and is presently ranked at No. 36. That's Top 100 in a very competitive Kindle category for nearly a week now!

To this point, THE 19TH ELEMENT has sold over 550 copies at $6.99. I has also seen Amazon Prime Borrows of more than 850. And remember...we're only in the middle of day seven in the paid column.

Conclusion.


Although the "new" free promo didn't yield the classic "three day bump" such promos once provided back in January and February, my book is still solidly in the Top 100 in its category (No. 36) and sales and Borrows remain strong on day seven paid.

As an extra bonus, the other three books in the series have seen approximately a doubling in sales beginning during the free period and continuing today. That's an extra 150 or so additional sales, also at $6.99.

Those are my results. You decide. Is KDP still worth it for you? It is for me.

Thanks for stopping in.

Cheers!

John

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kobo's Big News

Hello all, and thanks for stopping in at Self-Publishing Central.

I just have some quick news today about Kobo's new publishing platform, The Writing Life, which should be operational very soon.

First of all, I have to credit Andy Holloman for emailing me the tip on this development. Then I need to thank  Matthew Iden, because he will be writing the rest of this post.

Please read Matthew's thorough analysis of this awesome news on his blog here.

Thanks again for stopping in.

Cheers!

John

Friday, July 6, 2012

Amazon KDP Select Lives

Hello all,

Thanks for stopping in at Self-Publishing Central.

Today's topic is the current viability of Amazon's KDP Select Free Promos. My short answer -- they still work, just not the same. The longer version is below.

If you've listed free promos through Amazon's KDP Select program in the last two months or so, you've probably noticed that the "three day bump" that almost always followed free promo days earlier this year has all but disappeared. The reasons are explained in this blog post from Indie Bookspot and the links contained in that post. It's recommended reading; but not mandatory.

The disappearance of the "bump" is too bad for us indie author/publishers. There was great visibility in the way Amazon allowed our books a chance to see Top 100 exposure to the public, and as a result, make some significant sales. (My own personal experiences earlier this year are detailed in previous posts on this blog. No need to link them, because it doesn't work that way anymore.)

What's changed?

In April and May, Amazon adjusted their infamous "algorithms" that determine book rankings in the Kindle Book arena. In the new ranking system, free books have been severely devalued and KDP Borrows aren't counted at all. The result is that our books don't shoot up the Amazon rankings the way they did in January through March. As I said, that's too bad.

But...there are still advantages to KDP Free Promos. We can still get our books into the hands of potential readers without (direct) cost. That kind of advertising is hard to buy anywhere. Even if a good share of the books never get read, your name and book title flash across a consumer's mind while downloading the book. All exposure is good. And a certain number of downloaders WILL read your book. If they like it, they may buy more of your books or tell their friends. This is all good, but may not, by itself, justify the exclusivity required to be a participant in KDP Select.

Other Benefits of KDP Select


I'm sure the importance of the $2.00 per book from lending library revenues will vary from author to author. For my books, this steady income is a nice perk, and exceeds my historical revenues from other sales outlets such as B&N and SmashWords by a fair margin. I gave these outlets a second chance after my first 90-day Select conscription, and they didn't do very well selling my books. I regularly earn several hundred dollars a month from Borrowing revenue. Compared to other sales outlets, KDP Select is the clear earnings winner with my offerings (at least for now).

How about the lack of that "3 day bump"? Does that mean there is no sales bump at all?

For my books, that has not been the meaning. In the wake of three, recent free promo offerings, each of my offered books has seen a significant increase in sales over the next thirty days. (This period corresponds with what would be predicted under Amazon's new algorithms.) The ratings increases aren't as dramatic as they were earlier in the year. I'm not seeing my books nearing the Paid Top 100 overall on Kindle. But the rankings definitely go up. How much your book's rankings go up will depend on how many books you give away.

My latest free promo, which ended yesterday evening, has already boosted THE 19TH ELEMENT to No. 481 overall and No. 36 in Kindle Paid Suspense. I expect those rankings to improve over the next few days to a week, and then taper off slowly. And based on past experience, the rankings will taper off more slowly under the new Amazon system than they would under the "old" (Jan thru Mar) algorithm. So the book's sales increase will not be as dramatic; but it will last longer. It WILL be worth the effort and worth the book's exclusivity on Amazon.

Are there changes to how I should conduct free promos?


Yes. I believe so.

Since the new algorithm looks at a 30 day period of "sales," and not just a 24 hour window, I recommend that you shoot for a longer free period. In the "old" days, a two or three day promo was optimum. Today, I'd shoot for four or five days. Keep the promo going as long as your downloads continue to be strong. (This will be a relative condition, depending on the book, the author, and the author's platform.) When the pace of downloads decreases significantly you will reach a point where you may be giving up cash sales in exchange for too few free downloads. Use your own judgment on that one. I can't give you a formula. I terminated my recent giveaway after about three and a half days due to a decrease in download rate.

There is one other change that has occurred since January and that is very important to the success of your free promo. There are now MANY sites that promote free kindle books. And readers DO patronize them. So you have to use them, too. These sites are where your book promo will be seen -- where readers will download your book.

I suggest you look at this wonderful list put together and posted by Rachelle Ayala on Rachelle's Window. Try not to be overwhelmed. Do what you can. But take advantage of this great resource about a week in advance of your free promo dates. It WILL increase your book's download activity.

Conclusion

Amazon KDP Select is still alive...at least for now. Take advantage of its benefits before everything changes again in the publishing world (which you know it will).

Thanks again for stopping in.

Cheers!

John