Tag Archives: Amazon

Self-Publishing Pay To Play: Hello, Book Advertising

Self-Publishing Pay To Play: Hello, Book Advertising

Few authors are thrilled about the big shift in self-publishing in 2018, because the process became more a lot expensive. Both Amazon (AMS) and Facebook shifted to pay-to-play.

No more free visibility. If you want to sell books today, you need to advertise.

I prefer to keep all my blog posts positive. I know that this new “pay up!” situation will be disheartening for many authors.

We’ll look at how to cope in 2019. For now, let’s cast an eye over the terrain, so to speak.

Self-publishing: slimmer margins, more work

Pay to play means slimmer margins for authors who now have to advertise, or forgo sales.

Russell Blake has an excellent post on Amazon’s changes, and on advertising:

Amazon has taken real estate on their product pages and turned it into revenue streams… (because it’s a) revenue generation engine, it would have been dumb for them to offer visibility that doesn’t involve publishers and authors paying Zon…

Paying for ads wouldn’t be such a pain in the rear end if the reporting process made sense; at least then authors could make decisions. Unfortunately Amazon’s reporting is plain horrid.

Sales and advertising on Amazon: what the…??

On the sales side, many authors have been complaining about huge drops in their Amazon KDP sales since October. This book sales downturn isn’t across the board — not all authors are affected. However, it encompasses both straight sales, and KENPC income.

Affected authors believe that there’s a major glitch in KDP. Who knows? It’s a mystery.

As for the Amazon advertising situation… Authors advertising on Amazon can spend a lot of time wondering what on earth is going on too.

Suffice to say that AMS’s reporting is a mess. This is beyond-frustrating when you’re advertising on AMS. You’re throwing money into the void, and don’t know whether your ads are working, or not.

The solution? Roll on 2019

We’ll look at solutions in 2019 — many self-publishing authors will need to change what they’re doing, but this is nothing new. There’s an Amazon challenge every few months, and publishing is of course a business.

In the meantime, write on. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

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Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.

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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. 🙂

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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

$5.99
Author:
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?

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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

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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.

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