Friday, August 22, 2014

Amazon Adds Valuable Features Likely to Aide Self-Publishing Authors - Kindle Pre-Order Buttons and Beta Kindle Pricing Support

Amazon has added two new features to its Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard, both of which should be a boon to authors choosing to self-publish. Self-publishing, or indie, authors can now had a pre-order button to their Kindle books, allowing readers to purchase the book before its publication date.

Authors now have the option to publish their Kindle edition immediately or use the pre-order button. In the example above, my book will go on sale on September 2, 2014. This has given me four weeks to promote the publication of the book.

To my delight, at the time of this blog posting, the book in question had an overall Amazon sales ranking of 190,012! Hardly a New York Times Bestseller, but given I am a niche author of non-fiction, it might be a good indicator this title is going to do well.

I have no idea exactly how many copies have been pre-ordered as these transactions do not appear on my KDP sales page. I will just have to wait until September 2nd to find out.

The other new feature is the Beta version of "KDP Pricing Support. This feature provides data from Amazon to help guide authors find the most profitable price point for their new Kindle title.

Amazon provides a little drop box that provides very limited information on how it calculates the estimated optimal price, but given the company's normal secrecy about data, it does provide a little insight into what helps drive sales for a title.

In addition to the graphic data, you have the ability, it appears, to do some research of comparable titles and to simply select the price Amazon believes to be the optimal price point for your book. You are also free not to choose the price and determine your own price.

This is the Beta version of this feature, but for those authors looking to maximize earnings, it could take the guessing and experimentation needed out of the pricing process, allowing authors to obtain the best possible earnings from the start.

Since you can have the KDP feature estimate your optimal price for your without having to adopt the price point suggested, you can go through your backlist and see what Amazon KDP thinks the optimal price for any single title is. To my delight, it suggested I raise some of my prices by a considerable amount!

For other titles that I have been struggling to promote, the feature not only suggested a lower price in an amount I would not have guessed, but provides estimates of how the price change will raise profits or impact sales in the form of +/- percentages. It is interesting to note how lower prices increase sales and profits. For some books, high prices decrease sales, but increase profits. 

Both of these features, particularly the pre-order button, are welcome additions for self-published and indie authors.