Tag Archives: Amazon

Kindle Authors And Amazon’s £20,000 For 5,000 Words Contest

Kindle Authors And Amazon’s £20,000 For 5,000 Words Contest

For Kindle authors, the biggest challenge is getting readers to discover your ebooks. Indeed, it’s your only real challenge, aside from writing, of course.

Some Kindle authors feel that since the release of Kindle Unlimited (KU), Amazon has made it even harder for authors to make a living. Others are happier than six-year-olds on Christmas Eve: they adore KU.

What’s with KU anyway? Amazon provides a clue with its latest contest, The Kindle UK Storyteller Award: “Winning author to receive £20,000 cash prize and be recognised at central London award ceremony this summer.”

What does the $25,000 prize (for upwards of 5,000 words)  mean to Kindle authors?

For one thing, it offers a clue that KU isn’t going anywhere.

After the trauma experienced by authors whose Amazon accounts were cancelled, ostensibly because of Amazon’s algorithmic hammer blows, authors grew wary. They’ve yanked their ebooks from KDP Select, and thus from KU.

Since KU is such a rich target for scammers, I wondered whether Amazon would shut it down. That’s unlikely, because Amazon’s introducing KU to more countries, and judging by author’s forums, more authors love KU than hate it.

The £20,000 prize, for a 5,000 and upward short story, intrigued me, as I said in a comment on The Digital Reader’s article on the contest, Amazon Disguises Kindle Unlimited Recruiting Push as Writing Contest:

As they say, follow the money… At today’s exchange rate, £20,000 is $USD 24,945.80. According to The Bookseller, this is the second time in a few months Amazon’s run a contest in the UK. Amazon must be getting a LOT out of it. They could have put that money into the KU pool, which would have added a little something for each KU author, and maybe inspiring some authors to stay.

For the contest’s winning author, the £20,000 jackpot will change his or her life. I’m all for anything which helps and inspires authors, so Amazon gets a big tick for that.

What can Kindle authors can learn from Amazon’s contest?

I’ve made a little list.

  1. Amazon’s encouraging shorter works into KU. Writing a 60,000 word novel is challenging. By setting the contest entries at upwards of just 5,000 words, Amazon is both encouraging shorter works, and new authors;
  2. As stated, KU isn’t going anywhere;
  3. If you’ve eliminated or downgraded your KU involvement (I’m guilty of that), you may want to write some short stories.
    Short stories are excellent promotional tools for your novels, and build your visibility;
  4. If you’re a UK author, or are someone who can be in London in the northern summer to collect your prize, you could be a winner… 🙂

Re being in London: Amazon UK doesn’t seem to be limiting the contest to UK authors, so you could be based anywhere around the globe.

My final takeaway from the contest for Kindle authors

Amazon is actively looking for new authors — that is, they want lots of fresh content loaded into KDP Select.

So, what are you waiting for? Start writing. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

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Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

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Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing
You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day? More info →
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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. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

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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 →

Book Marketing For Authors: Yes, Social Media Sells Books

Book Marketing For Authors: Yes, Social Media Sells Books

Many authors find book marketing — and marketing in general — a challenge. So let’s try to overcome your fears and doubts, so you can sell more books. Today, social media is the easiest way for you to sell if you’re pressed for cash to invest in marketing.

(By the way, by “books” I mean ebooks too, of course.)

Book marketing on social media: get comfortable with ONE network

You know that I’m a veteran blogger, and I recommend blogging for authors. I started blogging way back in the late 1990s, and my love for instant publishing hasn’t wavered. What can I say? I’m all about the instant gratification; I started out as a writer using golfball typewriters, and communicated with my publishers and literary agent via airmail letters, and telegrams. So blogging is always wonderful to me… Write, and PUBLISH. 🙂

Currently I’m reading The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Anand. It’s an excellent book; I highly recommended it to you. It gives you a lot to think about. He has a lot to say about connections.

Blogging, as well as social media, is all about the connections you make.

I strongly recommend that you create your author blog, but whether you do or not, choose ONE social network on which to get started. There’s a real danger, with social media, that you’ll spread yourself too thin, and won’t get results if you try to manage two or three networks when you’re starting out.

Which network? Choose the one which appeals to you: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+…

Book marketing on your network: give it three months

In my copywriting business, clients complain that “social media doesn’t work…” By which they mean, they posted to their social network of choice five times, and then gave up.

Think about the two words: social media for a moment.

Social: get known, engage, and be there. You can’t make friends and contacts unless you show up.

Media: publishing.

So in summary: be on social media. Get social, and publish there.

A word about publishing. Please, I beg you, don’t make a social media platform your major publishing platform. Use your own blog for that. Medium is in trouble, and it’s just the latest in a long line of social platforms which found it hard to stay in business.

The best tip I can give you for book marketing on social media is: be patient, and consistent. It takes time to get your first 100 followers. After that, it’s much easier. Be on your chosen social media platform daily, for at least ten minutes — for three months.

Consistency counts: show up, every day — engage, and publish

Social media is social, so you can’t spend all your time on your social media network pushing your own book, or books. Indeed, very little time should be spent on promoting your book.

Remember: social, and publishing.

There’s nothing in those two words to suggest promotion.

Promotion happens in your profile on the network. Link to your Author Page on Amazon, or to your blog, or even to your book’s product page on Amazon, if you don’t have a blog or an Author Page. (Get a blog, and Author Page.)

Think longterm. Your social media account will become more valuable over time. The more years you spend there, the more your presence will be felt — and the more books you’ll sell.

How to sell your books on social media: use Facebook’s pages

You sell your books on social media by engaging, and publishing.

You’ll sell books, if you do that, but please don’t expect results within your first three months on a platform.

Many authors find that Facebook’s Pages function is very useful. You can create a Page on Facebook for your self-publishing business, as well as for each book you write.

If you’re not sure what to publish on your Facebook Pages, read this article, Facebook Adds New Post Prompts for Pages:

Facebook’s added a new Page posting options listing to help guide Page admins on the various outreach tools and functions available, making it easier to try out new tools.

We haven’t scratched the surface of social media yet. Over the next few months, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of book marketing on social media.

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, 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.

Easy And Fun Copywriting for Writers

Easy And Fun Copywriting for Writers

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Genre: Writing
Tag: copywriting
Are you making money as a freelance writer? Or do you aspire to? If so, you need the ability to SELL your writing, and any products, like ebooks and blogs, that you create. Simple, but powerful copywriting skills help you to do that. More info →
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