The Best Place to Self-Publish Your Book (a Fresh Look)

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Where Should You Self-Publish Your Book?

Maybe you’ve written a book. (That’s amazing, by the way.) Maybe you’re thinking about writing a book.

Or maybe you’ve self-published before, and you’re wondering if the option you used is still the best option for you. After all, book publishing is dynamic.

The best place for you to publish depends on which type of book you’ve written and which marketing ideas (if any) you have in mind (or you’re willing to try with earnest).

99.9% of self-published authors should be thinking one main word: AMAZON.

However, there are different ways to go about making your self-published book available on Amazon.

Even if you get most of your sales from Amazon, there are other ways to help supplement the sales that you draw from Amazon. And there are a few self-published authors who are highly successful with other sales channels.

Which Self-Publishing Options are Best for You?

That depends. First of all, there are different types of books that you can publish.

  • E-books. This is the most affordable option for customers. Most self-published novels sell better in digital format, but there are many other types of books that also sell very well as e-books.
  • Paperbacks. There are many nonfiction books, such as guides or educational books, where customers like to highlight and annotate. Paperbacks also make for better gifts. They also provide a few marketing opportunities, like sales to local bookstores or libraries and book signings.
  • Hardcovers. Many parents prefer this for children’s picture books, for example.
  • Both print and digital. Congratulations! You picked the ‘correct’ answer. Maximize your market by publishing your book both in print and as an e-book.

Where should you self-publish your e-book?

  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This is a must. This makes your book available in the Amazon Kindle store, where most customers shop for e-books.
  • The other guys. You could visit Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, and a host of other places, but it’s much more convenient to choose an e-book aggregator like Smashwords or Draft2Digital.
  • Option (C): Just KDP _or_ KDP + Smashwords (or Draft2Digital). That is the question. You see, Amazon dangles this choice before your eyes, which is called KDP Select. If you enroll your e-book in KDP Select, you’re not allowed to publish your e-book with Nook, Kobo, Smaswhords, Draft2Digital, or anywhere else (unless and until you successfully opt out of KDP Select, and also wait for your current 90-day enrollment period to end). So you must choose: Will you publish your e-book with Amazon KDP only (to reap the benefits of KDP Select), or will you publish your e-book everywhere you can (staying out of KDP Select)? That’s a tough question. We’ll come back to that later.

Where should you self-publish your paperback?

  • CreateSpace. Since this is Amazon’s original print-on-demand self-publishing company, it’s the logical way to make your paperback book available in Amazon. I recommend CreateSpace: There are no setup fees, you can order inexpensive author copies, they offer Expanded Distribution (to sell your book through other channels in addition to Amazon), you can choose to use a free ISBN (if you don’t mind CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform showing up in the publishing field on your Amazon product page), and being an Amazon company—yeah, this is worth repeating—it seems like the logical way to make your paperback book available for sale at Amazon.
  • Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s not just for e-books: You can publish your paperback through KDP, too. That’s convenient, especially for new authors who follow the steps outlined in KDP Jumpstart, Amazon’s new self-publishing guide. However, I still recommend CreateSpace over KDP for the paperback version: CreateSpace lets you order a printed proof (which every author should do), purchase inexpensive author copies, and offers better distribution to channels beyond Amazon.
  • Ingram Spark. This is the main competition for CreateSpace. Ingram Spark is Lightning Source’s self-publishing platform, and Lightning Source has been a major book distributor for several years. One reason that I recommend CreateSpace is that CreateSpace has zero setup fees, whereas it costs more to publish with Ingram Spark. If you have reason to expect significant sales through the international market (perhaps because you’re based in another country and have solid marketing plans there), or if you’ve done ample research and have effective plans for potential sales through local bookstores or libraries, in those cases it may be worth comparing the pros and cons of Ingram Spark and CreateSpace more closely to see whether the possible benefits may outweigh the higher setup fees. If you’re an illustrated children’s author or have other reasons to expect significant hardcover sales, you might like Ingram Spark’s hardcover option.
  • Option (D). There are authors who use CreateSpace for Amazon distribution and who use Ingram Spark for other sales channels (even though CreateSpace offers Expanded Distribution). I generally don’t recommend this, unless you have compelling reasons to expect significant sales through other channels besides Amazon—since, again, Ingram Spark has higher setup fees, whereas CreateSpace lets you publish for free. Before you try this option, search the CreateSpace community forum (or the great wide internet) for discussions about how to pull this off (and the potential pitfalls).
  • There are a few other options. CreateSpace and Ingram Spark are the two major players. Next on the list is Lulu. There are authors who use Lulu. One nice thing about Lulu is that you can sell your book through Lulu’s store: This option may be handy for those authors who can drive significant traffic through their own marketing (though, in general, if you drive traffic to Amazon, customers are more likely to follow through with a purchase, since more customers know and trust Amazon). For the rare author who can move books in person (for example, by selling dozens of copies after a presentation), you can find relatively cheap printing options if you plan to purchase 1000+ books up front: In that case, it’s worth doing some research for inexpensive book printers. If you want to order a few hardcover copies, but don’t need distribution, instead of paying setup fees at Ingram Spark, one possible alternative is to use Nook Press (their hardcover option lets you order author copies, but doesn’t offer print-on-demand distribution).

There is yet another way that you can publish a book: You can make an audio book. For this, I recommend using the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) to make your book available at Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes.

KDP Select

Now let’s come back to that critical e-book question: Should you enroll your Kindle e-book in KDP Select?

If you enroll your e-book in KDP Select, you can’t publish your e-book anywhere else. (But you may still publish a print book anywhere you want.) The benefits of enrolling in KDP Select include:

  • Kindle Unlimited. This is the main benefit. Customers who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (which costs $9.99 per month in the US) can borrow KDP Select books for free. Amazon pays you about $0.004 per page read (although a “page” usually turns out to be significantly more than a typical printed “page”) by Kindle Unlimited customers. Obviously, $0.004 doesn’t seem like much, since it’s just one page (although it’s usually higher, and has occasionally exceeded $0.005), but if your book gets tens of thousands of pages read through Kindle Unlimited, it can really add up. Amazon currently pays over $19,000,000 per month in royalties for KDP Select books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited, so this is a very significant market. But there are also over a million books in Kindle Unlimited competing for pages read.
  • Kindle Countdown Deals. If your book is priced from $2.99 to $24.99 (for $2.99 only, your converted .mobi file size must be below 3 MB), you can run a Kindle Countdown Deal. This lets you put your book on sale for up to 7 days every 90-day enrollment period. The sale price by itself doesn’t always attract the attention you’re hoping for. However, if you find effective ways to promote your sale price, this improves your chances for improved sales. There are several websites that help to promote sale prices, like BookBub and E-reader News Today (note that BookBub is much more expensive, and very difficult to get accepted into).
  • Free book promos. Instead of a Countdown Deal, you could choose to give your book away for free for up to 5 days every 90-day enrollment period. I’m not recommending that you earn zero royalties, just including it as a possible benefit. There are a few authors who use this effectively, especially when they have a compelling first volume for a series of books. Again, to get the most out of this, you usually need to promote the temporary sale price effectively. In this case, you’re hoping that any free copies pay dividends down the road, but there are no guarantees.

The main question is this:

  • Would you earn more royalties through Kindle Unlimited pages read?
  • Or would you earn more royalties from sales through Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.?

That’s basically what it boils down to. There really is no way to know without trying. One option is to enroll in KDP Select for 90 days and see how it goes. (This gives you an extra 3 months to learn how to format your book for Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, or wherever else. Formatting is a little different for other platforms than it is for Kindle.)

Good Luck!

And I mean it. I wish every author success with their publishing endeavors.

My advice is to think long-term. However many sales you make this year, strive to make more sales next year. Keep writing, keep publishing. Enjoy your writing and you’re sure to enjoy the experience.

Learn how to do a little marketing, and try out new marketing ideas periodically. Think long-term with your marketing. The best place to start is with a free blog. I recommend WordPress’s free dot com site. Since you love writing, you’ll surely enjoy blogging. I do. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Click here to view my Amazon author page.

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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KDP Jumpstart: Amazon’s New Simplified Publishing Guide

STEP-BY-STEP E-BOOK PUBLISHING WITH AMAZON’S KDP JUMPSTART

Amazon introduced a new simplified step-by-step publishing guide called KDP Jumpstart.

It’s designed for new authors, but could help anyone who needs Kindle formatting help.

A nice feature is that the 12-step program is available directly on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) help page. You can find a link below (or visit Amazon KDP’s help pages and look for KDP Jumpstart near the top left).

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202187740

Following the guide, e-book formatting for most books is done through Kindle Create (Amazon’s free reflowable book conversion software). There are two ways to do this:

  • Open Kindle Create and then open a .doc or .docx file.
  • Install the Kindle Create add-on and run it from Microsoft Word. (This option is intended for authors who plan to publish both print and e-book versions through Amazon KDP.)

Kindle Create offers a convenient way to apply paragraph styles without having to learn how to modify and apply styles within Microsoft Word, and without having to learn HTML.

Here are a few things that I like about KDP Jumpstart:

  • It makes self-publishing a Kindle e-book appear relatively quick and easy. The number of steps to follow is kept to an absolute minimum, and the information is very concise.
  • Everyone should take a look at Step 6, which provides a cool visual introduction to book design. Note, however, that the labeled diagrams specifically show paperback designs.
  • The Kindle Create plugin for Microsoft Word is designed to let you design a paperback interior in Word and quickly create an e-book from the paperback file.
  • KDP Jumpstart covers important topics like writing the book description, cover design (review Step 6 before you read Step 9), and how to choose categories and keywords.
  • The guide includes insider tips as well as helpful activities. For example, one activity gives you specific author pages to check out, while another helps you learn how to research browse categories.

I’m not saying it’s the perfect publishing solution, and I’m not saying that all authors should switch to this method. It does look like a good place for new authors to start, and anyone who could use help with Kindle formatting (or who may be looking for a convenient way to go about it) should at least check it out.

Following are a couple of possible cons to consider:

  • Maybe it’s a little too short and simple. There are usually many pitfalls for new authors to learn regarding Kindle formatting. New authors tend to have a few habits that usually cause problems with Kindle formatting, like using the tab key to indent, not using paragraph styles, typing two spacebars after a period, using the Enter key to create blank lines, etc. Perhaps Kindle Create helps with a couple of common habits, but it doesn’t seem like it would be foolproof. I’d like to see the guide mention more common issues for new authors to avoid.
  • I still recommend CreateSpace (Amazon’s original self-publishing company) for paperbacks. It’s convenient that Amazon KDP now offers paperback publishing, but it doesn’t yet appear to be as fully developed as CreateSpace. At CreateSpace, you can order a printed proof (which every author should do), you can order author copies, and you get wider distribution (unless any of this has changed recently).

Regarding the first point, there is more information available in the KDP help pages than what you can find in the simplified publishing guide, if you spend time browsing through the help pages (or try using the search feature). There are also some good discussions regarding formatting and publishing on the KDP community forum (especially, if you use the advanced search feature and change the date range to All Years).

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Kindle Unlimited: Movin’ on up (September 2017)

KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ, SEPTEMBER, 2017

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate increased for the second month in a row.

The September, 2017 rate of $0.00443 is a healthy boost over the August rate of $0.00419 and the July rate of $0.00403 per page.

Both of these increases followed the introduction of KENPC v3.0.

The KDP Select Global Fund for September, 2017 is $19.5 million.

Overall, Amazon is paying out more money per month than ever for Kindle Unlimited: The global fund has climbed over 20% over the past year.

That comes to over $200M per year, and that doesn’t even include royalties for ordinary sales—that’s just for pages read through Kindle Unlimited (and to a much lesser extent, Amazon Prime).

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

CreateSpace eStore is Closing Effective October 31, 2017

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CREATESPACE ESTORE IS CLOSING

Beginning October 31, 2017, customers will no longer be able to purchase paperbacks directly from the CreateSpace eStore.

If you have a link to your CreateSpace eStore and a customer clicks on it, the customer will be redirected to the corresponding page at Amazon.com.

According to CreateSpace, the reasons behind the change include:

  • It’s much easier to search for books across Amazon’s site than it is to search for books on CreateSpace.
  • Amazon offers a much better checkout process than CreateSpace does.
  • Amazon offers better shipping options, including Amazon Prime.
  • Amazon sends out tracking notifications for orders placed through Amazon.
  • Amazon’s storefront is a much more familiar interface for customers.
  • Several customers have requested the features described above.

Unfortunately, when a customer clicks on a link to a CreateSpace eStore and is redirected to Amazon, authors will earn Amazon.com royalties (not eStore royalties).

Since Amazon offers all of the features listed above, this will improve the customer shopping experience. However, these features cost more (on average) compared to CreateSpace’s simplified eStore setup, so authors will no longer earn eStore royalties—but see my note below about improved Amazon.com royalties for the next 6 months.

Although authors are losing 20% from their eStore royalties, there are a few benefits which help compensate for this loss:

  • Some customers who would have visited your eStore, but who would not made a purchase through CreateSpace (because they didn’t qualify for free shipping, had to setup a new account with CreateSpace, or didn’t trust CreateSpace like they trust Amazon), might now make a purchase from Amazon. The redirection might help a little with a higher percentage of sales.
  • Some customers who would have purchased one book from your eStore might buy a few of your books on Amazon (because your Amazon page features your author page, or because your other books show up on your customers-also-bought list).
  • When a customer buys your book from Amazon.com after being redirected from your eStore, your Amazon.com sales rank will improve, whereas eStore sales had no effect on sales rank.
  • When a customer buys your book from Amazon.com after being redirected from your eStore, the customer’s review will be a Verified Purchase (except for the rare customer who chooses not to let this designation show), whereas reviews from eStore sales were unverified.

Although the new program goes into effect on October 31, 2017, CreateSpace will be adjusting your Amazon.com royalty for all Amazon.com sales made between November 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018. CreateSpace is calculating what percentage of your sales (for each book) were made through your eStore and through Amazon.com over the past 12 months, and is using that to determine your adjusted royalty for the next 6 months.

So if you drive just as much traffic to your eStore over the next 6 months as you did over the last 12 months, you should earn (on average) about the same royalty as usual until May 1, 2018, at which time your Amazon.com royalty will revert back to normal.

Most authors sell very few books, if any, through their CreateSpace eStores: Those authors are virtually unaffected by this change.

However, there are a few entrepreneurial authors who are fairly successful at driving traffic to their CreateSpace eStores. If you usually get a significant percentage of sales from your CreateSpace eStore, you may wish to consider getting other options into place by May 1, 2018. Following are a few suggestions.

  • Accept payments directly (perhaps through PayPal). Either drop ship from CreateSpace (ordering author copies sent directly to customers, although this process isn’t ideal), or order author copies in bulk and then mail to customers directly (you wind up paying more for shipping/packing this way, but you gain the ability to include a bookmark, business card, or thank-you note and you get to inspect the quality of the book firsthand).
  • Setup a website to replace your eStore. It’s very easy to setup a website that processes payments, though it comes at a cost. Then ship copies via one of the methods mentioned in the previous bullet point.
  • Use Amazon Associates. Change all of your current links to your eStore to Amazon Associates links to Amazon.com. This way, you can earn a commission on all of the traffic that your drive to Amazon. In fact, you earn a commission on anything that the customer buys (within a set time period), so if the customer buys another book instead, you earn a commission for that—or if the customer buys a Kindle Fire HD, you earn a commission on that (which is even better).

Most of my customers purchase their books directly through Amazon.com, so personally I’m not really affected by this change. However, for two of my better-selling titles, I will be earning 61% royalties (instead of the usual 60%), minus the book cost, for the next 6 months—although it’s just 1%, those two titles sell frequently enough for that to add up to a cool, unexpected bonus. (Thank you, CreateSpace and Amazon.)

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Kindle Unlimited Per-page Rate Back Up for August, 2017

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KENP RATE FOR AUGUST, 2017

Good news: The per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited bounced back up to $0.00419 per page for August, 2017.

It had dropped down to $0.004034 for July, 2017, which was right on the cusp of dipping below $0.004 for the first time ever.

So it’s nice to see it rise back up a bit. It nearly returned to the rate for June, 2017, which was $0.004223.

Of course, it’s all relative. The per-page rate was very close to $0.005 back in February and steadily declined from March thru July.

So it’s also nice to see August at least temporarily break the trend of declining per-page rates.

Also, remember that Amazon KDP introduced KENPC v3.0 just recently.

The KDP Select Global Fund also hit a record high, $19.4 million for August, 2017.

The global fund has steadily risen over a period of years, which shows a strong and growing Kindle Unlimited program.

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

The Kindle Unlimited Rate Drops to Nearly $0.0040 per Page for July, 2017

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PER PAGE RATE FOR JULY, 2017

The per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited dropped down to $0.004034 per page for July, 2017 compared to the rate of $0.004223 per page for June, 2017.

This downward trend has now continued for several months.

  • $0.00497 for February
  • $0.0046 for March
  • $0.00457 for April
  • $0.00433 for May
  • $0.004223 for June
  • $0.004034 for July

The KENP per-page rate is at a current low. It dropped down to $0.00411 eighteen months back in January of 2016 (last year, not this one).

Back in January, 2016, the KENP idea was relatively new and there were many naysayers speculating that the rate would drop below $0.04 per page and never return.

However, it rose well above $0.004 in February, 2016, and continued soaring. While it has fluctuated a little here and there, it has held fairly steady, and approached nearly $0.005 earlier this year.

When it dropped to $0.0046 for March and April, it seemed to be returning to a more modest rate, as the $0.00497 was higher than usual.

When it dropped further to $0.0043 and $0.0042 for June and July, we hoped this might be a temporary downward fluctuation.

But here we come to $0.0040. The big question is: Will it finally drop below $0.0040 per page?

Of course, NOBODY KNOWS! (Well, maybe Jeff Bezos knows.)

We can hope we’ve reached the bottom of a valley, and that the rate will head back up. This happened in January of 2016.

But it’s common for the rate to drop in January for the holiday season, especially with a new version of Unlimited in place (which there was in 2016), and return upward starting in February.

We’re in August now, with the holiday season ahead of us. This is different.

However, there is another big factor involved. Amazon KDP just introduced KENPC v3.0. If you haven’t already done so, you should check the current KENPC’s of your books. You can check your current KENPC from your KDP bookshelf. Click the Promote and Advertise button next your title (or click the … button to find this option, if necessary), and scroll down.

If your KENPC happens to be longer than it had been, that will help compensate for the lower per-page rate. If your KENPC happens to be shorter now, the lower rate will hurt even more if it continues.

There is some good news, however. The KDP Select Global Fund for July, 2017 was $19M, which is a clear million dollars above the $18M payout for June, 2017.

This is part of an upward trend. It was $16.8M back in December, 2016, and $13.5M in December, 2015.

So while the per-page rate has dropped recently, overall Amazon KDP is paying even more in combined Kindle Unlimited royalties.

The problem is that we don’t know what will happen over the next few months. If you did, it would be easy to plan for it.

A couple of months may provide some helpful data, if you can wait.

Personally, I’m content with Kindle Unlimited (as both an author and a customer), but I’m just one author. My KENPC’s are about the same as they were, my pages read are holding fairly steady despite the tens of thousands of new books added to the market each month, I believe that Kindle Unlimited helps my sales indirectly, and I feel that I’m able to derive enough benefits from KDP Select to make it worthwhile for me. These are the things that each author must decide for him- or herself.

The Kindle Unlimited market, for which KDP Select authors see $19,000,000 per month in royalties on top of sales (and this is also on top of All-Star bonuses), draws a very significant indie audience.

However, I am very interested to see what happens to the per-page rate over the next few months.

Have you noticed any change with KENPC? How do you feel about Kindle Unlimited with regard to your books? Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Kindle Unlimited KENP Read for June, 2017

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PER PAGE RATE FOR JUNE, 2017

The per-page rate for KENP pages read for Kindle Unlimited was $0.004223 in June, 2017.

It’s only a couple percent less than the rate for May, 2017, which was $0.00433, but it’s a continued drop from April, 2017’s rate of $0.00457.

On the other hand, the KDP Select Global Fund for June, 2017 was $18M, which is a slight increase over May’s fund of $17.9M.

I don’t just look at the per-page rate only. I look at both numbers, the per-page rate and the KDP Select Global Fund.

The per-page rate goes up and down. When it happens to go down two months in a row, or when it approaches its relative low, it’s easy to panic (and I usually read discussions, comments, and articles of authors who do). But it usually goes up and down. Enjoy the highs, survive the lows. Focus on your current and future writing projects, keep marketing, and let these tasks keep your mind off the per-page rate when it hits a valley.

But even when the per-page rate drops or hits a valley, the KDP Select Global Fund has very steadily risen. Amazon just paid out $18,000,000 in royalties for June, 2017, and that’s ONLY considering pages read through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime for KDP Select books. That figure doesn’t include traditionally published books like Harry Potter that are included in Kindle Unlimited, it doesn’t include All-Star Bonuses (I have contacted KDP about this very issue), and it doesn’t include royalties for sales. This is a huge amount of royalties for KDP Select authors to receive collectively each month:  That rate reaches over $200M annually.

The steady growth of the KDP Select Global Fund shows me that Kindle Unlimited continues to thrive, that there is a huge active market here. And many of these customers are indeed reading KDP Select books.

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

Amazon Prime Day Deals Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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AMAZON PRIME DAY, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 marks Amazon Prime Day this year.

It’s like a summer Black Friday exclusive for Amazon Prime customers.

Check out the deals at Amazon.

It kind of snuck up on me this year. Is July 11 really here so soon? Wait: It’s already July? Didn’t the year just start? I guess that means I’ve been busy writing, which is a good thing.

There has been a banner on Amazon’s home page for a few days mentioning it, but Amazon really didn’t tap into the indie potential. I didn’t see mention of it in the KDP newsletter. Maybe the reason is that Amazon’s emphasis is on other products, but it seems that if they encouraged indie authors to schedule a Countdown Deal on Prime Day, or if they would discount more CreateSpace paperbacks on this day and let authors know about it (rather, CreateSpace paperbacks are more likely to be discounted on other days, it seems), well… surely those authors would really help to spread the word about Prime Day and be excited about it. Imagine the millions of authors who would like to feel “included” in the deal, even if they are small names, and would be excited to let their fans (even if in small numbers) know that they were somehow involved, if only they were directly involved and encouraged to participate. Multiply their fan bases by the huge number of indie authors (many of whom have actually developed great marketing skills), and it could be helpful advertising for Amazon.

I do love Amazon, and Amazon has been great for me as an author (and customer). I’m just thinking that if Amazon could see the potential here, they could make Prime Day even better.

BUT YOU CAN STILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PRIME DAY—EVEN IF YOU MISSED IT

So maybe you’re an author and you weren’t prepared for Amazon Prime Day.

Maybe you weren’t given a heads up. Maybe you didn’t put any of your books on sale.

Or maybe you did have a sale on Prime Day and it was a DUD, considering all the other great deals going on.

If so, it’s not too late to use Amazon Prime Day to YOUR advantage.

Put one of your books on sale AFTER Amazon Prime Day. That’s right: after.

Probably a Kindle e-book that isn’t already at its minimum possible price. That’s the easiest way for an indie author to put a book on sale.

When your sale starts, use your marketing to promote it something like this: “Missed Amazon Prime Day? Don’t worry, you can still catch a great deal.”

(You could do this after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.)

Now your book is on sale, but not at the same time as the majority of other items, and not when customers are too busy on other deals to look for indie books.

Sales aren’t easy to come by, even with discounts. Marketing isn’t easy, even when you have a good idea.

But there is an opportunity here. It can be pulled off if done right.

Much of marketing is learned through experience. Come up with ideas, try to find out which of them suit you.

HAPPY PRIME DAY

Maybe you can find some good deals on something you’d like and save some $$$.

Good luck!

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Kindle Unlimited KENP Per Page Rate for May, 2017

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PER PAGE RATE FOR MAY, 2017

In May, 2017, the per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited KENP pages read dropped down a bit to $0.00433 from the value of $0.00457 for April, 2017.

It’s not the first time the per-page rate has dropped, though for quite some time it has held fairly steady, and not too long ago it peaked at about half a penny per page.

The rate is currently closer to $0.04 per page than it is to $0.05 per page, but that’s not the first time that it has ever flirted with $0.04 per page. In the past, when it dropped down to $0.04, it managed to work its way back up and hold it there for several months. (That doesn’t mean the same will necessarily happen again.)

The KDP Select Global Fund for May, 2017 was $17.9M, which is just a slight jump from the value of $17.8M for April, 2017.

This is a positive indicator. The Global Fund steadily rises. I remember when it was a “mere” $10M per month. Almost every month, Amazon pays out more royalties overall for Kindle Unlimited pages read. It’s a huge pool, and it’s growing. The challenge is much like paid sales: Getting customers interested in your book enough to read it (over the many other books on the market).

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

How to Add URL Hyperlinks with the Kindle Kids Book Creator (KKBC)

INSERT A URL HYPERLINK WITH THE KINDLE KIDS BOOK CREATOR

The Kindle Kids’ Book Creator (KKBC) is Amazon KDP’s free self-publishing tool for creating illustrated children’s books from a PDF or from jpeg images.

The KKBC is easy to use, convenient, and is both PDF and JPEG friendly. It results in a fixed-format Kindle e-book, designed for picture friendly devices (and so the published e-book may not be available across all devices, but it will work on most devices for which it would be convenient to read an illustrated children’s book).

One of the main issues is how to add a clickable url hyperlink that will take the customer directly to an external website (such as your author page or blog).

There is a way to do it, but it may not seem obvious. The steps below will show you how.

HOW TO ADD A CLICKABLE URL HYPERLINK TO AN EXTERNAL WEBSITE WITH THE KKBC

Step 1. Add the text for the URL by inserting a textbox. Click the button on the toolbar called Add Text. Then type the text as you want it to show.

In my example, I typed the following text (see the picture of text below). This is the url for my Amazon author page, which shows all of my books.

(If you wish to do the same, login to Author Central, click the Author Page tab at the top, and read the instructions where it says Author Page URL.)

Step 2. Disable the pop-up feature for the textbox. Right-click in the textbox area and click the option to Delete Pop-up. This option preserves the text, but removes the pop-up feature that would otherwise be associated with the text that you added.

The pop-up feature needs to be disabled before you can make the hyperlink url clickable.

(If you run into trouble where you aren’t able to edit your text or you don’t see anything when you right-click, try closing the KKBC and restarting the computer. When you restart your computer and reopen the KKBC, try not opening other programs along with it.)

Step 3. Open a web browser and visit the webpage that you wish to link to. Copy/paste the full web address shown in your browser. When you do this, the copy/paste option should automatically include the http:// part that you need. Paste this url into a simple text editor like Notepad.

You can see the full url for my author page in the picture of text below. Compare it to the picture above. Notice how it automatically added the http:// part.

(Fancy text editors like Word sometimes include other stuff when you later need to copy/paste from Word, so it’s desirable to work with Notepad.)

Step 4. Prepare a simple line of HTML to paste into the KKBC. You don’t need to know anything about HTML. You just need to be able to follow these directions.

On a new line in Notepad (simply press Enter to begin a new line of text), type a line of HTML similar to my example in the picture of text below, except for using your own website url.

  • first type a less than symbol <
  • next write a href=”
  • (the quotation marks should be straight, not curly)
  • next copy/paste the full website URL for your webpage, including the http part (the same text from Step 3)
  • next close the quotation marks ” (straight, not curly)
  • next type a greater than symbol >
  • next type the URL text as you want it to look (the same text from Step 1)
  • next type a less than symbol <
  • next type /a
  • next type a greater than symbol >
  • when you’re finished, the text should look just like my example above, except for using your own website URL instead of my author page URL
  • it has the following structure

Step 5. In the KKBC, click the View tab and select HTML View.

Step 6. Click the HTML tab in the KKBC. It’s right next to the Design tab, just below the toolbar and above the view of your book’s content.

(You can only see the HTML tab after you’ve enabled HTML View in Step 5.)

Step 7. Find the text that you typed in Step 1 in the HTML code that you see. This is like the book, Where’s Waldo. You have to hunt for it.

It’s probably in a div id tag, and it’s probably towards the bottom. (If you’re about to give up, try copying and pasting the HTML text into a text editor and using the Find button to help figure out where that text is. Once you know where it is, you should be able to go back to the KKBC and find it in the HTML View.)

In the picture below, I used a RED ellipse to show where I found my text from Step 1.

(Make sure that you have the right page selected before you click the HTML tab. If not, you never would find it.)

Step 8. Once you find the text in Step 7 (identical to what you typed in Step 1), highlight exactly that text, no less and no more.

It’s very important that you highlight it perfectly. Don’t include the < or > signs, and don’t miss any characters from the text.

Step 9. Then copy/paste the text from Step 4 (the one line of HTML code that we made) to overwrite the text from Step 8.

That’s it. Except now you should make sure it works right. See Step 10.

If you’re able to zoom in on my picture below and if you’re able to find and read the text, it shows how my example looks after Step 9. (Note that I didn’t actually publish this book with the KKBC. I just used the KKBC to create a test file and to illustrate how to use this feature of the KKBC. I actually published this book with the Kindle Textbook Creator instead, and it doesn’t include any clickable links. But that’s another story. The test file that I created with my KKBC still works.)

Step 10. Click Book Preview and Create Book Preview. This may take a minute.

When it finishes, it should open the Kindle Previewer (which you need to install before you do Step 10, if you don’t already have this valuable tool installed — you can find Kindle Previewer v3 and other valuable tools at Amazon KDP right here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A3IWA2TQYMZ5J6).

Find the page where you added the clickable hyperlink. Place your cursor over the hyperlink. The symbol of the cursor won’t change shape (it will be an arrow, not a hand), but that doesn’t matter.

When your cursor is over the clickable hyperlink, left-click your mouse once.

You can see how my example looks in the preview window below.

When I did this, my web browser opened my Amazon author page successfully.

You can see the webpage that opened below.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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