Monday, February 27, 2017

GoodReads Giveaway Versus KDO Select FREE Days Promotion

I just finished a three day FREE campaign on Amazon KDP Select for my novel The Predator and The Prey. Despite advertising and promoting the campaign, I only had 475 downloads. The book managed to climb as high as Number Three in the Top 100 Free for Noir Crime.

The Predator and The Prey climbed to Number Six in the Top 100 Free in Science Fiction Adventure.

It could be argued I should have used all five days to let the campaign gain momentum. Looking at my data you can see that was not a likely outcome.


February 24 was the best day with 229 downloads. February 25 saw a total of 162 downloads with a total of 84 downloads on the final day, February 26, for a total of 475 copies downloaded. 

I'm not sure what my results were supposed to have been. For the categories my book belongs to this might an excellent result. I've also read a good campaign should result in around 5,000 downloads. With that as a standard, my novel didn't do so well.

Without something to compare to, I have no idea, beyond the comment made by a blogger I cannot remember, to determine if this was a decent result.

Any reader who has data on their novel's FREE KDP Select campaign and is willing to share, I would love to hear how your book did and how you organized your campaign.

There has been no uptick in sales and it will be awhile before any reviews might be forthcoming.

My next campaign to promote The Predator and The Prey will be a GoodReads Giveaway promotion. Starting March 6 and running till March 24, I will be offering three signed copies of The Predator and The Prey in the Giveaway Promotion.

For those not familiar with this promotional tactic, and I wasn't until recently, it might be an effective way to promote your book, fiction or non-fiction, all at a very low cost.

To participate in the program as an author or a reader, you must have a GoodReads account. 

The image above shows the left portion of the GoodReads toolbar at the top of the page. Click on browse and you will see a listing of a variety of possible choices in the drop down menu, one of which will be Giveaways.

The image show above shows the options you will see when you click on Giveaways. Books can be found in any of the four possible categories. If you look at the far right of the image you will see the options you have to choose from, one of which is to list a Giveaway. Click on this and you will see the form below appear.

You will need to read the rules, terms, etc, of the agreement. GoodReads uses an algorithm to determine the winner or winners. You will be notified who the winners are and have three weeks to deliver the prize, the print copy of your book.

If you will note, there is an option that is already checked below the box requiring the reader to acknowledge they have read the terms of the giveaway. That little box will add your book to every participating reader's To Read Bookshelf.

Readers like to see what their friends on GoodReads are reading. Like reviews on Amazon, being displayed on a To Read shelf is social affirmation the book is worth checking out. Data provided to me by GoodReads when I created my first campaign for The Predator and The Prey stated the average number of reviews garnered from a Giveway is 60%. In other words, give away ten copies and you should receive six reviews. 

Before I run another campaign on KDP Select, I plan to collect the data from my March Giveaway program to compare.

I can run as many campaigns for my book as I want so long as they are not simultaneous. This will allow me to generate data I can compare on length of campaign, how I promoted it, the number of readers who signed up for the promotion. Based on the norm, I will also pick up reviews.

Lately I have been reading the FREE campaign on KDP Select has lost a lot of its effectiveness. I can speculate as to why. Kindle Unlimited is how Amazon wants readers to read free books, not downloading my FREE promotional copies. So Amazon just changes its algorithm to reflect that desired change.

GoodReads on the other hand lets me run a promotion that only involves giving away a few paperback copies (as low as one and as high as I want. The supposed best number of copies to offer, signed of course, is ten). I then get the benefit of reviews and social affirmation of having my book, with its cover image, listed on as many readers To Read Bookshelves as signed up for the giveaway promotion.

As far as I am concerned, the only real advantage of having a book listed in KDP Select is the ability to have five FREE days of giveaways. If GoodReads has a better promotion than KDP Select, it opens up the possibility of listing the book on Draft2Digital for sale on other retail platforms (I prefer to use a distributor than to go to the trouble of uploading the file individually to each platform).
Again, if any author has had experience with a GoodReads Giveaway promotion and is willing to share their thoughts about the program, positive or negative, please share in the comments.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Predator and The Prey FREE for Three Days on KDP Select!

My novel The Predator and The Prey is FREE for three days on KDP Select, February 24-26, 2017.

Take advantage of this limited three day offer and meet my anti-hero Thomas Sullivan!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

KDP Offering a Beta Paperback Program? UPDATED

In the process of updating the interior file for my novel, The Predator and The Prey, I noticed Kindle Direct Publishing is now offering a Beta program for paperback versions of your Kindle book.

I have always used CreateSpace to provide a paperback edition for my books using print-on-demand. Since my books are already available in paperback, I quickly glossed over the link to learn more about this new option.

That is until my cursor stopped on the link on its own accord one day and my eye caught the 60% royalty figure! KDP offers the author 60% of the net after printing costs and the author sets the price for the book. That's a better deal than the 40% I get now from CreateSpace!

There are some drawbacks you need to be aware of. At this moment, KDP does NOT offer physical proof copies. That's a deal breaker for me at the moment. I have to be able to get printed proof copies for a variety of reasons. But that 60% is so alluring.

At the time of this post, KDP does not offer the ability for the author to purchase bulk copies at wholesale, offer expanded distribution to bookstores and non-Amazon sites and it does not offer professional services.

If you are used to using CreateSpace, this really isn't that big a deal. Set your book up on CreateSpace. When it is ready to release, move it to KDP.

It is pure speculation on my part, but I have a hard time believing KDP isn't using CreateSpace to provide this service. When I speculate though, I generally get myself in trouble so perhaps this is another internal to Amazon POD service, set up to compete with its own CreateSpace. See where speculation gets you?

For now, I plan to experiment by transferring a few of my existing non-fiction titles and seeing how it works out.

You see, there's a catch. Once you transfer the files to KDP - you're committed.

If anyone has used this service, please comment about your experience.


In the comment section Denise Gaskins pointed out this might be much ado about nothing. I posted a screenshot of her comment below.

This brought to mind a quote I value from General Douglas MacArthur, "Don't give orders that can be understood. Give orders that cannot be misunderstood."

Here is a screenshot from the CreateSpace website showing how royalties are calculated for a B&W 184 page book priced at $8.99.

Based on the example provided and the chart shown above the amounts below are what the various parties will earn.

Here is my math for this example.

$3.60 is 40% of the list price
$3.05 is the total per unit cost for printing a single copy
$2.34 is the author's share of the proceeds in the form of royalty payment.
Sixty percent of the list price goes to printing and author royalty payment.
Based on that math, Denise is indeed correct in her statement.
This leaves me to wonder if KDP has either issued a statement that is deliberately vague to recruit authors to the new KDP paperback program OR is the statement poorly worded and actually does mean author's will receive a higher percentage of the net profits per sale (see MacArthur's quote above).
What would the math look like if the author really is getting a higher percentage of the net?
Based on the example the cost per unit for printing will remain the same at $3.05.

The change would be in the amount paid to authors. Out of the remaining $5.94, my calculator says 40% equals $2.38, or .04 cents more than the example listed for the author royalties.

I interpret this to mean the author is being paid a 40% royalty, give or take a few pennies.

Again, using the example provided by CreateSpace, a 60% royalty would be $3.56, a difference of $1.18, which IS something to crow about over multiple sales.

The question is, which example is the model KDP is using?

Denise, thanks for pointing this out.

KDP's language in regard to the actual amount is vague. An easy to understand example like the one CreateSpace provides would have been helpful, especially considering KDP is basically poaching from a fellow Amazon company and once you make the switch, there is no going back.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Is Social Media Out For Book Promotion And Sales? Is the # Dead?

I had to force myself to commit to using social media as I started the process of trying to build a sustainable author's platform for the launch of my fiction series. After reading more books on the subject than I want to admit to, I managed to sift through the wide ranging advice to come to a few conclusions:
  • It would seem a social media presence is necessary.
  • Not every medium works for every author.
  • Less is more! Pick one and stick to it!
  • Facebook seems to be the most successful medium.
In the process of researching the subject, I came to the conclusion, and so did a lot of other authors, that my own author website and the e-mail list I build are the most valuable components of my author platform. 

My e-newsletter, The Inspector's Report, is meant to be more than a sales tool. In fact, I don't intend to use it for that purpose except for occasional campaigns. It is meant to be a tool to build loyal fans. Fans who will buy my books when a new release is announced or buy the entire series.

It would appear many businesses have reached the same conclusion. Social media might be okay for somethings, but sales is not one of them. Getting traffic to your own site and getting fans signed up to your author's newsletter is more beneficial.

A recent article in the Daily Mail supports this conclusion based on the behavior of advertisers for Superbowl LI. The article quotes Marketing Land as its data source to indicate that of the sixty-six advertisers only 5 mentioned Twitter and 4 mentioned Facebook in their ads while 41% included the company's url address.

To read the rest of the article click here.