I recently attended the Mad Anthony Writer’s Conference held in Hamilton, Ohio, where award-winning writer Bob Hostetler, and Jane Friedman, renown strategist for authors and publishers, were presenters. Over time I hope to share some of the wisdom about writing and publishing that I learned from them. The following is a tip from Jane Friedman, and what she says many authors do.
If you are in the KDP Select program, run your book for free for 5 days every three months without fail.
Amazon offers the KDP Select program to authors as a tool to promote your Kindle book on a Countdown Deal or as a free promotion for five days every three months. In return, if you enroll in the KDP Select program, you have to remove your e-book from all other sales channels and sell exclusively on Amazon for the three-month period of enrollment.
I began debating whether or not to enroll in this program in January of 2012 a few months after I published my first book, Dancing in Heaven. I debated the issue for a while, but was bothered by the exclusivity. Not because I was going to lose a lot of sales. The vast percentage of book sales came from Amazon. But I had a philosophical, or maybe ethical, problem with participating in what was clearly an effort on Amazon’s part to corner the market of e-books, which they have largely done without my participation, anyway.
This January I decided to try the KDP Select program with my second book, Where Memories Meet-Reclaiming my father after Alzheimer’s. I was having trouble getting the word out about the book, and I wanted to do a Countdown deal on Amazon that I could advertise through various other websites. I actually sold a lot of books on the days the price was reduced and the book was marketed. But I did not realize a lasting increase in my sales, and don’t expect to. I’m planning to take Jane’s advice and put it up for free for five days next month around Father’s Day. And I may cycle it through five free days every three months for a while.
I suspect some, perhaps many, of the customers who download a free book don’t read it. But I also think some will. At least it is a way to generate a little conversation online and get the book out and into readers’ hands. If I’m not really selling a lot of books anyway, I don’t have much to lose.
I have since put Dancing in Heaven on KDP Select and plan a Countdown to run beginning on my sister Annie’s birthday, May 17th, when the book will be priced at $0.99. I’m over the philosophical/ethical dilemma, at least for now. I’m not really supporting a monopoly, when no one was visiting the other sites to buy the book anyway.
I don’t know how long I will stick with the KDP Select program for either book, but for now, thank you Jane Friedman, for the tip.