Category Archives: Kindle

Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

If you’re into ebook publishing, you’re wondering about KDP Select, and Kindle Unlimited (KU). Several authors asked me whether or not they “should” enroll their books in Select, and thus make them free to KU subscribers.

My answer? It depends.

Please keep this in mind: no one really KNOWS. We’re all just guessing, and tinkering with our books, hoping to increase sales.

Ebook publishing in 2017, same as 2016: still the right strategy for me with new novels

In this post, Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump, I said:

Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?

That was last August. That’s still the process I’m following:

  • Enroll new fiction under pen names in KDP Select for the first three months, then take them out and go wide with them (publish to several of the most popular ebook retailers);
  • Already published ebooks: fiction and nonfiction, all wide. Of course, the ebooks sell more copies on Amazon than elsewhere, but for me, KU seemed to be cannibalizing sales — your mileage may vary.

The “perfect” strategy?

I’ve spoken with authors who are all-in with Amazon, and they’re selling huge numbers of their ebooks, as well as having a high KENPC (pages read.)

From what I can tell, these are authors who write novels in series, and publish regularly — either once a month, or once every couple of months, with shorter novels or short stories published intermittently. New ebooks experience a bump from Amazon’s “new” listings, and that bump helps you to make sales of older ebooks too. However, the bump lasts just a couple of weeks — it used to last a month, but not recently.

Other authors are going wide, with all ebooks, publishing everywhere they can, and are seeing good results too. By the way, if you haven’t read the self-publishing survey, read it.

There’s no perfect strategy for ebook publishing, there’s only what works for you.

By the way — consider pricing too.

Pricing affects sales, but no one’s sure how

One thing’s for sure, “free” ebooks, as your sole marketing strategy, is dead. Super-low prices — 99 cents — are dead too, IF you make every ebook in your catalogue 99 cents.

Readers won’t flinch if you start your pricing at $2.99. Indeed, you may sell more at that price.

Conclusion: in ebook publishing, KU is a very useful marketing tool

From what I can tell, KU can be very useful. You can use it as I do, to lift the visibility of new novels. I don’t use it for nonfiction, because it doesn’t work for my categories — it may work for yours, test, and see.

Alternatively, you can go all-in with Amazon, and enroll everything you publish in Select, so that it’s in KU. Amazon’s cracking down on scammers, so that helps with your KENPC income too.

Either way, it’s your choice. 🙂

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

Kindle Fiction: Free Marketing Tips

Kindle Fiction: Free Marketing Tips

You’re writing Kindle fiction. You’re not selling as many ebooks as you’d like. The solution? Marketing — and it can not only be free, it can be simple and easy as well.

Sophie, one of my Team Up students, had written two complete novels, and several short stories before we started working together. She was very disappointed with her sales. She hadn’t done any marketing.

I knew that Sophie had enrolled her novels in KDP Select, so I asked her how she was using her “free” days. That is, the five days which Amazon gives you in each three-month Select period, in which you can offer your ebook free for promotional purposes.

Why offer ebooks you want to sell for free? Because you’ll make more sales — the free ebooks lift your rank in Amazon, so more people see all your ebooks, and will buy them.

Sophie was startled. “How do you mean? Do I have to choose days?”

Yes, you need to tell Amazon which days you want. 🙂 In your KDP Dashboard, click on More Actions, then choose Promote and Advertise, and select the free promotion option. You’ll be able to choose the days you want.

Here are some tips on making the most of your KDP Select “free” days. They’re a brilliant sales opportunity, and used well, you’ll boost your ebooks’ ranks, and will make many more sales.

How to make the most of your KDP Select free days

You can offer an ebook free for five days in each three-month KDP Select period. To boost the effectiveness of an ebook’s free days, you need to advertise the free download as widely as you can.

1. Choose where you’ll promote your freebie

Before you choose which days you want in KDP Select, visit this link, and choose your advertising venues. Some sites have a waiting period.

Make a list of four or five venues, and take note of what lead-up time they require. Next, go back to your KDP Dashboard, and select your free day(s).

Then sign up for your free/ paid promotions on the promotional websites.

2. Don’t use your free days in a five-day block

I used to do this. It works, but… you can’t promote that novel for free, until your enrollment in your current Select period is over. I’ve found (and my students have found too) that they get just as many downloads if they space out their promotions.

I prefer to start with a two-day period, then leave it for a couple of months before using the final three-day period.

3. Promote your promotion on social media while it’s running

Create some advertising images to use on social media while your free download period is running. Then post the images during your promotion.

Obviously, the more followers you have the better. Increasing your follower count takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.

If you have a mailing (kudos to you!) obviously you’ll let your subscribers know about your freebie too.

Free sells, but use your promotions (and pricing), strategically

You’ll get a slight boost from your free days, even if that’s all you do. However, to get the best results, you need:

  • Several ebooks which readers can BUY;
  • To keep careful records of when you ran promotions, and how many downloads you received, as well as sales;
  • To write in SERIES, and serials… If you want to increase your Kindle income in the fastest way possible, write serials.

Have fun. 🙂

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing
How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. More info →
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Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Writing Fiction: Show It, Don’t Blow It

Writing Fiction: Show It, Don’t Blow It

You’re writing fiction: a novel. You’ve exhausted your first burst of enthusiasm. You can’t figure out where the story goes next. You’ve got 10,000 words of nothing.

Sadly, outlining doesn’t help. You’ve written an outline, and it has all the appeal of a jar of baby food. It’s bland. There’s no spark. You don’t care about your characters. You don’t even care about them enough to dislike them.

Relax. This kind of thing happens often. Look on the bright side — you’ve got 10K words, and that’s something. Here’s why you’ve lost your way: you’ve stopped feeling the emotions you’re aiming to portray. It’s easy enough to get them back.

Start by planning.

Plan and plot, to boost your enthusiasm

As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m not a great fan of outlines. I prefer organic outlining, as we discuss in Hot Plots. When you use ordinary outlines, you’ll try to force your characters where they don’t want to go. You’re fighting your creative self, which knows what’s best for your story.

Go back to basics.

Think about:

  • The setup (approximately a quarter of your novel, in which you set up your story. After you’ve set things up, you’re moving to…
  • The midpoint — what it says. This is the first big turning point of your story, where everything changes. Your story goes in a new direction. Next you head for…
  • Story twist number 2. Another turning point. Your main character has tried to change. It’s not working. Things look black, and you’re heading for…
  • The showdown. The make or break. The big fight your character needs to win. The story winds down, with…
  • The resolution. The killer’s identified in a mystery. The world’s saved in a thriller, and it’s hearts and flowers in a romance.

When you consider the above way markers for your story, you’re not writing an outline. You’re giving yourself points to hit. Over time, as you write more short stories and novels, and read them as well, you’ll recognize these way markers instinctively.

SHOW it, don’t blow it: put yourself, and your readers IN your story

Get a big sheet of paper, at least A3 size. Or grab a whiteboard. Make circles on the board. List your main characters down the side.

Fiction is about people. People who CHANGE, over the course of the story. In your first circle, write your main character’s name, and his situation and major attribute at the start of the story.

It’s your challenge to show your main character’s growth, and change, throughout the story. A “plot” means nothing if your character doesn’t change. You’ve heard of the character arc, and character development. That means change.

Let’s say that at the start of your novel, a thriller, your main character, Lola, is a trader in a bank. She loves numbers. People make her shy, so she rarely stands up to anyone. She’s divorced with a small son.

Over the course of your story, you’ve got to show Lola change. She changes into someone who stands up for herself, and what’s right. She becomes a whistleblower: she saves the financial lives of hundreds of the banks’ small investors.

Using your sheet of paper, or whiteboard, start brainstorming scenes. Lola starts out as timid and becomes a heroine. What happens to her, and what does she do, along her journey?

When you’re done, slot your scenes into the basic “plot” we discussed above.

SHOW in every scene: see it, touch it, hear it, say it…

Now start writing a scene you want to write. Any scene. There’s no reason to write your story chronologically. Write any scene you like, from Lola’s point of view (POV) and BE Lola. Be there, in the moment.

If you can do that, your readers will be there with you. They’ll feel it.

Once you’re done with the scene, choose another scene, and write that one too. Keep BEING LOLA. When you feel it, you build your enthusiasm, and the words will flow.

Have fun… 🙂

Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

The big secret of making money from your fiction is writing a lot. And publishing strategically and consistently. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program ensures that authors can make money from short stories, and all kinds of fiction. Moreover, whatever you’re publishing, you have a global audience.

You’re about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you’re writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. Discover Hot Plots.

 

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing
How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Updated: February 6, 2017