Article on Advertising with AMS and other Publicity Services by Sally Jenkins

Advertising Research

ARTICLE ON ADVERTISING WITH AMS & MORE

Author Sally Jenkins published a great article on paid-for publicity services, including advertising on Amazon with AMS.

The article is called “Get Professional” and appears in the UK magazine called Writers’ Forum.

You can find Writers’ Forum online at writers-forum.com. Or if you reside in the UK, you can pick up a hard copy.

Sally Jenkins was kind enough to include a quote from my blog in her article, which covers:

  • advertising on Amazon with AMS
  • other paid publicity services, such as seeking personal assistance

Check out Sally Jenkins’ website here: sally-jenkins.com.

Here is her author page: viewAuthor.at/SallyJenkins.

Follow her on Twitter: @sallyjenkinsuk.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Countdown Deals and KDP Select Free Promos: What’s the Current Status?

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.

COUNTDOWN DEALS & KDP SELECT FREE PROMOS

WHAT’S THE VALUE IN 2016?

The effectiveness of Kindle Countdown Deals and free promos for e-books enrolled in KDP Select has changed over time.

In the beginning, when KDP Select free promos were first introduced, they were highly effective, often being grabbed by the thousands without any effort on the part of the author. But the success of unadvertised free promos dwindled quickly, as more and more authors began giving away their e-books away for free and as the perceived value diminished from the customer’s perspective. For a couple of years, free promos seemed to have a bad rap.

When the Kindle Countdown Deal came along, many authors who had previously used the KDP Select free promos switched to Countdown Deals. This actually helped in a couple of ways:

  • There were fewer free e-books on the market, since you can’t run a free promo during the same 90-day enrollment period in which you run a Countdown Deal.
  • Many authors raised their prices, so there were also fewer e-books priced at 99 cents and $1.99. You need a higher price point in order to take advantage of a Countdown Deal.

One consequence is that the KDP Select free promo became somewhat more effective. Fewer authors were complaining about free e-books, with fewer freebies on the market, and fewer customers were stockpiling more freebies than they could possibly read.

The free promo has never returned to its original effectiveness. In most cases, it’s not even close. But it has rebounded somewhat, and can be used effectively.

Neither the KDP Select free promo nor the Kindle Countdown Deal are likely to provide desirable results if unadvertised:

  • It can help greatly to get external promotion from BookBub, E-reader News Today, or one of the top e-book promotion sites. (BookBub is the one site where paying a hefty fee has reasonable potential. For other sites, I recommend free or very low cost, and doing research off-site before any investing.)
  • It can also help to gain free exposure from bloggers, fellow authors, or websites that share an audience similar to yours. (Here, I recommend free and organic.)

But you can find more value than just immediate sales.

For example, here are a couple of things that you can learn from running a Countdown Deal:

  • Are you considering a lower price point? Run an unadvertised Countdown Deal to test the waters. If you don’t earn more royalties during the period of the promotional price than you normally would, then you know that lowering the price isn’t the solution to your sales woes.
  • Does an Amazon Giveaway (now available to e-books from US product pages) or does AMS advertising help with short-term sales during a Countdown Deal? If you have data for a Countdown Deal where you didn’t run a giveaway or advertisement, this gives you the basis for comparison.

Sometimes, a KDP Select free promo or Countdown Deal might be geared toward branding your image as author or helping to build an initial fan base to the extent that you may be okay with a short-term loss, with your sights set toward long-term gains. (But you want to minimize any short-term losses, and you want to have effective long-term marketing in place, such a content-rich website that can generate hundreds of visitors per day after about 12 months. Otherwise, you may never recover your loss.)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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 up 17%!

Kindle Unlimited up 17 percent

IMPROVEMENT IN KENP READ RATE

Here is some good news for KDP Select authors and for Kindle Unlimited subscribers (indirectly, since this good news for authors benefits the readers, too).

The KENP pages read rate rose up to $0.00479 per page in February, 2016 up from $0.00411 per page in January, 2016.

It’s not because there were 2 more days in January. (Being leap year, there were 29 days this February.) The ratio 29/31 would only account for less than half the difference.

We had two reasons to expect the KENP per-page rate to increase:

  • KENPC v2.0 began February 1, 2016, with a perceived decrease on average. A small reduction to the total number of KENP pages available to be read would result in a corresponding increase in the per-page rate.
  • January, 2016 appeared to reflect holiday traffic. It’s typical for some of that holiday traffic to taper somewhat. The per-page rate dipped a bit in the holidays with a high volume of pages read, and the per-page rate rose back up following the holidays.

Regardless of the reason, and regardless of how long this lasts, a 17% boost to the KENP per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited (and Amazon Prime) borrows is nice to see.

The KDP Select Global Fund dropped 6.7%, down to $14M in February, 2016 from $15M in January, 2016. This is probably due to a decrease in the overall volume of Kindle Unlimited pages read following the holiday season.

In other countries:

  • United Kingdom: £0.00305 per page (British pounds). Up 16% from December’s £0.00262.
  • France: €0.00474 per page (Euro).
  • Spain: €0.00474 per page (Euro).
  • Canada: $0.00499 per page (Canadian dollars).
  • India: ₹0.104 per page (Indian rupees).

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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.

Comments

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Are you getting the most out of your fantastic book cover? Let’s see…

This cool image was created by The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books/.

This cool image was created by The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books.

BOOK COVER PROMOS

If you have a great book cover, you want to take advantage of it.

While I designed most of my own book covers, my best book covers were designed by a professional. For example, the cover you see below was designed by Melissa Stevens at http://www.theillustratedauthor.net. (This is a lower resolution version for my blog.)

Book cover designed by Melissa Stevens at http://www.theillustratedauthor.net.

This cool book cover was designed by Melissa Stevens at http://www.theillustratedauthor.net.

Just imagine your cover on a big city billboard like the one below, put together by The Story Reading Ape at thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books.

This cool image was created by The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books.

This cool image was created by The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books. The background image was licensed through http://shutterstock.com.

If you’re thinking, “Sure, that would be cool, but I could never afford that, and even if I could, I would never recover my investment,” then you’re missing the point.

What you can do is create 3D versions of your cover, like the one below (designed by The Story Reading Ape at thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books), or put your cover in some unexpected, cool-looking place, like on a billboard in downtown Hong Kong.

This cool image was created by The Story Reading Ape at http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/tsra-3d-books.

Take your cool book cover and make it pop even more.

Compared to the price of a typical book cover, getting a 3D promo cover can be quite reasonable. The Story Reading Ape’s services are quite affordable, in my opinion.

You can use these book promo covers:

  • on your blog
  • on your Author Central page (you can add images)
  • on bookmarks (through overnightprints.com, for example)
  • on letterhead (through overnightprints.com, for example)
  • on promotional items like t-shirts or coffee mugs
  • on exclusive items readers could win through contests
  • on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media

Or you can take things a step further, and get fans to take photos of themselves doing something (zany? fun? smart?) with your book, posting the images on their own sites.

If you like the billboard idea:

  • When searching for big city billboards on stock photo sites like ShutterStock, beware that most of the results are for editorial use only. Filter the search results by clicking the option to Refine Your Search, selecting the Non-Editorial option.
  • You might want to make a disclaimer that says, to some effect, that your book isn’t really displayed on a Manhattan billboard, and that the image is for entertainment purposes only. But I’m not an attorney, so if you want legal advice, you should consult an attorney.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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.

Comments

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See the Benefits of an Amazon Giveaway at Digital Book World

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.

DIGITAL BOOK WORLD

Today, Digital Book World published my article, “The Benefits of an Amazon Giveaway for Kindle.”

“There are several possible benefits to running an Amazon Giveaway for your Kindle ebook: • Increase traffic to your product page: On average, Amazon Giveaways bring more than a 40-percent increase in traffic during…” Click here to continue reading this article at Digital Book World.

If you ordinarily enjoy reading my articles, I hope you will visit Digital Book World (at the link above) to check out this one, too.

In case you haven’t yet discovered Digital Book World, here is a brief sample of what you can find there:

  • The Expert Publishing Blog is packed with a variety of tips from multiple authors.
  • The DBW Daily (under News & Analysis) is a daily newsletter by Daniel Berkowitz. At the bottom of each, you can find helpful links to external articles.
  • The Digital Book Wire (also under News & Analysis) keeps you up-to-date with industry headlines.
  • Discover more helpful ebook publishing content under Features.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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.

Kindle e-book Giveaways now at Amazon (#AmazonGiveaways for #ebooks)

Gift Kindle

AMAZON GIVEAWAYS FOR KINDLE E-BOOKS

I’m really excited about Amazon’s latest announcement: Amazon e-book giveaways. (I’ve already tested it out, too: I love it!)

Every time I post information about Amazon or Goodreads Giveaways, I hear from authors who wish they could give e-books away through the contest.

Well, now you can. (On Amazon. Not Goordeads.) Amazon just expanded their giveaway program so that all KDP authors (even if you’re not in Select) can run Amazon Giveaways for their Kindle e-books.

You no longer need to run giveaways for print books. This makes the giveaway process much more affordable, since e-books are less expensive and there are no shipping charges.

WHY RUN AN AMAZON GIVEAWAY

I received a publicity email about this new feature (which went out to newsworthy sources), which included some helpful statistics. Let me quote a few:

  • Traffic to Amazon product pages increased by more than 40% during the week of an Amazon Giveaway. That’s quite a boost! (Only a fraction of that traffic will convert to sales.)
  • Over 300,000 Amazon followers of Author Central pages have been added as a direct result of Amazon Giveaways. My prediction: This number will shoot through the roof in the coming weeks, now that giveaways have expanded to include Kindle e-books.
  • Over 2,800,000 Twitter followers of authors have been added as a direct result of Amazon Giveaways.

So there are two reasons you should run periodic Amazon Giveaways:

  • Drive more traffic to your product page for increased exposure.
  • Grow the number of Amazon followers of your Author Central page. When you release a new Kindle e-book, you will receive an invitation to send an announcement through Amazon to your followers. You can require contest entrants to follow you on Amazon.

GIVEAWAY RECOMMENDATIONS

I’ve run several dozen giveaways in the past, and tested out this new e-book feature. Here are my recommendations for how to get the most out of your contest:

  • Sign up for Author Central and add your Kindle e-book, if you haven’t already done so.
  • Search the Kindle Store on your computer for one of your e-books. Open the product page. Scroll down toward the bottom of the page to find the giveaway option.
  • Choose Random (or Lucky Number). I prefer Random, but you have to give away more than one book to guarantee good exposure. I like to give at least 3 books away per contest.
  • Making the odds long, like 1 in 2000, offers greater exposure per dollar, but also reduces the likelihood of having a winner. Some contestants pay attention to the odds, and may not want to follow you unless the odds are compelling. If you offer better than average odds, like 1 in 150, it can be a selling point in your tweet, but greatly limits your exposure. Somewhere in between is a happy medium (not worth advertising in your tweet). Popularity also varies depending on the subject or genre. Make higher odds the first time, and if you don’t have a winner, choose the option to make a new giveaway, this time improving the odds.
  • Choose the option to require entrants to follow you on Amazon through Author Central. This way, you can send them an email through Amazon when you release your next Kindle e-book.
  • Include the front cover of your book when you create the giveaway. Scale it down somewhat to be safely under the 1 megabyte limit. You’ll receive an error message if it’s slightly under 1 MB; it needs to be well clear of the limit. Around 1200 pixels high usually works for this for jpeg format.
  • The “Sorry, you didn’t win” wording can generate interest, if you use this space wisely. (Tip: Enter several book giveaways to get ideas for how other authors use this space.)
  • Compose a tweet with the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag after your giveaway goes live. This spreads the news of your giveaway on Twitter.
  • Press the Twitter button in your (second!) email from Amazon (they send you two emails after your purchase), then edit Amazon’s default message to cater to your needs. It will automatically include a link to your giveaway page.
  • Don’t include an image as part of your tweet. Your cover will automatically show up on the giveaway page. In my experience, you get better exposure when you don’t add an image to your tweet.
  • You can delete the title of your book and replace it with a compelling description, strap line, keywords, hashtags, whatever you think will draw interest in your contest or book. You can delete the “See this,” the extra dots (…), etc.
  • Don’t delete the NoPurchNec part. This is required in your tweet. Don’t delete the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag. Don’t delete the link to your contest.
  • You can add hashtags (or change keywords in your book’s title to hashtags). The right hashtags can offer additional exposure for your giveaway. (Research done in the past suggested that tweets with two hashtags received better exposure on Twitter; this is not an Amazon stat, it’s a generic Twitter stat.)
  • You can also share your contest on Facebook.

CHANGES TO AMAZON GIVEAWAYS

Here is a brief summary of recent changes:

  • Contests can now last up to 30 days (used to be 7 days).
  • Readers who have already purchased the e-book are not eligible to enter the contest.
  • Any un-awarded e-books can be rolled over into new giveaways, or you can opt to distribute them directly.
  • E-books purchased for giveaways are non-refundable.
  • Redesigned layout and entry experience better highlights the book and author.
  • Every e-book entrant who doesn’t win will receive an offer of the free sample.
  • You can cancel a giveaway before it is launched.

HOW DOES IT LOOK

After you tweet about your giveaway with the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag, contestants can find your giveaway. Your tweet will look something like this:

Giveaway Ebook

Note that only the top portion of your book shows. If you design your book cover so it has appeal when only viewing the top portion of the front cover, you have an advantage with the giveaways.

Here is another example:

Giveaway Ebook 3

The contest page looks something like this:

Giveaway Ebook 2

HOW TO FIND GIVEAWAYS

First of all, you should enter the giveaway for my self-publishing book (volume 1). I’m giving away 10 free copies:

Chance to win 1 of 10 copies of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon (Vol. 1)

Since I included an example of what Julie Harper’s giveaway looks like in a picture above (used with permission), let me also include a link to her giveaway:

Chance to win 1 of 4 copies of 48 Short Stories for Girls by Julie Harper

Find giveaways on these Twitter pages. The first link is handy, but not easy to find, and when you do find it, you need to click the Live button or you just see the most popular ones. But my first link below is special, as it goes straight to the Live feed. The second link is lacking the visual element, but is easier to find on your own.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/amazongiveaway?f=tweets&vertical=default&src=hash

https://twitter.com/GiveawayLinks

7 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS

amazon.com/7days

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

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.

Comments

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