Self-publishing comes with so many advantages. Control, direct relationships with readers, immediacy and control. Did I mention control?
It also comes with it’s own set of challenges (note I didn’t say problems). The main one is marketing and promotion. How do you get your book see in a sea of competition. Amazon offer a number of tools designed to help an author promote their baby. ‘Kindle Direct Publishing’ offer a ‘select’ option. This provides 5 days in which to make your book free in return for complete exclusivity (i.e., you aren’t then allowed to offer your book on any of the competitor sites, such as apples’s ibooks, kobo or nook etc).
The idea is that you generate interest in those free days and hope that translates into actual sales further down the line.
For me KDP select presents an interesting dilemma. Amazon are by far the biggest retailer, and if I can get traction there then all good, but are those free days really worth the exclusivity?
Let me share some numbers based on my experience so far.
The free days can be any days, individual or concurrent but must be used within your three month (exclusive) period. I made ‘The Whisper of Stars’ Free for 3 days. I did a lot of promotion in this time. Facebook, Twitter, paid ads and email hits. I shifted 4,000 free books. Sounds a lot, and I was pretty excited about that to be honest. My book on 4,000 kindles…. ooooooohhhhh!
Then, the day after it was back to its original price of £2.99.
I sold 41 books that day.
41 Books. I nearly cried. Seriously, that is a good amount and means a lot to me. I was suddenly number 15 in the Sci-Fi charts. It felt good. Really good. I started imagining (dreaming) of it settling down to maybe 10 or 20 a day….
But then, as expected, sales dropped of a cliff and I was back to 1 or 2 books a day. Literally back to where I started.
So, I ran another promo, using up my last 2 days of FREE promo. Again, lots of freebies, a few sales and then back again. To be clear, I am more than happy to give books away for free. But, the question now is whether I am better selling 1 or 2 books a day on multiple channels or sticking with the kindle exclusivity for the odd boost.
For me, it’s not about income. It’s more about reaching readers. Apple, particularly with the release of the oversized iPhone 6 (and plus) and iPad mini, finally have a viable reading platform. There are a number of users on those devices that might never read me if I remain in Amazon’s pocket.
With the release of ‘The Embers of Hope’ imminent I am starting to wonder whether I just get my work ‘out there’ in as many ways as possible. Either way I will continue to experiment and write my findings here.
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