Back in the spring of 2016 my novel KELPIE DREAMS was fortunate enough to be selected for Kindle Press, thanks to a successful Kindle Scout campaign. I have talked about this at length throughout my blog but now I need to talk to you folks about the ways that a writer such as myself can promote their Kindle Press release. In fact, this is going to give ALL of you indie authors out there some ideas on how to promote any sort of a Kindle e-book release, so there is something here for everybody.
Let’s start by explaining how the steps work here. When you enter an unpublished manuscript into a Kindle Scout campaign you are given thirty days to jump up and down on the internet, trying to attract some fresh hungry readers to come and take a look at your Kindle Scout campaign page and hopefully NOMINATE your book. Then, at the end of thirty days, if you have attracted enough nominations – AND (and this is WAY more important than the nomination process) if you have written a book that Kindle Scout deems salable, then you are selected for publication.
That’s what happened to me. I got enough nominations and wrote a good enough book that I was awarded a $1500.00 advance and a publication deal with Kindle Press.
Kindle Press is the publishing arm of Kindle Scout.
So, in May 2016, my book KELPIE DREAMS was published by Kindle Press and I began trying to pay back my advance. That’s the hitch, you understand. You have to sell enough books to pay that $1500 back before you can begin receiving royalty checks in your bank account.
Which kind of sucks – but hey, I am used to this. I was a traditional writer back before I became an indie writer, and actually I still publish traditionally, which makes me a HYBRID writer.
Personally, I have always felt that the term “hybrid” sounds a little bit more like some sort of supernaturally nutritional loaf of bread that you have to know the secret password to purchase at shady midnight health food bars – but I haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning to think straight – so what do I know?
Well, selling the first $1000.00 bucks worth of books turned out to be easy. The first few weeks all of the power and muscle of the Kindle Press promotional team was placed squarely behind my release, but as I squeaked past that thousand dollar point things began to peter out.
Now I can hear some of you folks out there saying “AHA!” and “I KNEW IT!”. I can hear your “This is all a freaking conspiracy!” bells going off and I can hear other folks coughing loudly into their palms and saying “SCAM!” like they were trying to scare a cat off – but it isn’t so.
The fact is, I know of quite a few Kindle Press writers who paid off their advance VERY quickly – some in the first two or three days. So this isn’t a scam and this isn’t the way that it always plays out. I just didn’t push hard enough during those first couple of sales weeks.
So – what can you do about this sort of a situation?
Well, back in January I was notified by the folks at Kindle Press that they were about to launch my book into a huge BOOK FOR A BUCK promotion. Meaning that KELPIE DREAMS, along with 99 other Kindle books, were going to marked down to a dollar for the entire month of February.
Now was the time to get out there and promote. Only problem was, I fell down with a case of Noro-Virus just as sick as I could get and I missed out on getting some of my promotional spots lined up.
I’m better now and I’ve been promoting all February long, as best as I could manage to.
The only problem is, I am on the Bataan Death March of a fiscal budget. I am so broke that all of the Krazy Glue and duct tape in the universe could not put my bank balance back together, so I could not afford some of the ritzier book promotional services.
Here’s what I did.
For starters I weeded through TWO book promotion lists, looking for the cheap and the free.
(and doesn’t that sound like a kickass name for a spaghetti western – THE CHEAP AND THE FREE?)
I checked out Kindlepreneur’s list of 127 Best Book Promotion sites as well as this big fat list.
I found 18 services who offered a CHANCE at free promotion – Awesome Gangs, Pretty Hot.com, Discount Bookman, Book Pinning, Bookzio, Daily Cheap Reads, ebookasaurus, Book Circle, Free Book Listings, eBook Listen, Book Bongo, readper, Bargain Booksy, Indie Book of the Day, Ebook Booster, Reading Deals, Bookscream, Armadillo ebooks, eBookSoda, Book Pebble and eBookSkill.
Now, the thing to remember is when you sign up for FREE promotion, you are making a bet that those services MIGHT just have enough room to fit you in “pro bono” and MIGHT just think your book is salable enough that they will get behind you and promote it. They do make a bit of money through their Amazon Affiliate Connection, but it isn’t a lot. They REALLY make money by having authors PAY them to promote their books. So, if you have the money, I recommend actually spending a bit of it on promotion – but I’m broke right now, so I don’t.
The other problem is that you don’t always hear about when your book is being promoted by any of these free services – IF they promote it at all.
I was helped out by Awesome Gang, BookScream, and readper for free.
Actually, my readper promotion just went live today. The company is being set up by indie author, Jaxon Reed, and you really might want to get in on the bottom floor of this promotional service. I have been VERY impressed with his service so far.
In addition, I have taken part in several multi-author cross-promotions during the month of February, one of which got me up to the 12250 Amazon ranking, which is an all-time high for this month, so far.
For those folks who are wondering, a multi-author cross-promotion happens when a group of authors get together and set up a master-page with one or two of each of their sales books listed at a bargain price, and then they promote that master-page through each of their personal fan newsletters. It can work out really well if you have a good book with a good cover and get yourself in with a good group of authors. And, best of all, it is often free, although some cross-promotions ask for money, primarily so that they can offer a cool gift to folks who visit the cross-promotion, like a free Kindle or an Amazon gift certificate.
That’s something for another blog entry, though.
I also used HeadTalker and CoPromote and group Retweets to get the word out about my KELPIE DREAMS sale through Twitter. Now understand, it is a foolish game to go and try to sell your e-books on Twitter. There is just too damn much white noise and chatter. Folks tend to avoid your BUY MY BOOK tweets. But, as I said, I am broke and desperate and I have no pride what-so-ever.
Besides, I do see a little bounce from this strategy. It isn’t the best way to go about promoting your e-book, but if you are financially-challenged, it is better than nothing.
On February 15th I paid five dollars for a Book Pebble promotion, and I have to say that the pebble didn’t make too much of a splash. I’m not sure if it sold ANY copies at all.
So far, throughout the month of February I have balanced at around an Amazon ranking of 30000 to 50000, meaning that I am selling about 10 books a day. As I mentioned, at one point I was up to about 12000, which is about 15 books per day. This morning I started out at about 29000 and have moved up to 27300, which is about 11 books per day so far.
(for those folks who are wondering just WHERE I am pulling these numbers out, I use the Kindlepreneur Calculator, which gives me a rough estimate of how many books I need to sell in a day to hit a certain ranking. It isn’t accurate, but it seems to be pretty close to the mark.
Today, as I mentioned, my readper promotion is going live and my eBookSoda is also going live. So I am hoping that this one-two promotion will bump up my rankings enough that folks will begin to notice KELPIE DREAMS and maybe I will sell a few more copies.
I hope you folks will cheer me some good luck as I head towards the end of February!
Yours in storytelling,