Monday, February 27, 2012

MEMORIES Free eBook Days Set - My KDP Select Experiment

Hi all,

As I mentioned before, I published my latest novel MEMORIES on Amazon this past week and I entered it into the KDP Select Program for 90 days. I've also already set my first 2 FREE promotion daysWednesday, Feb. 29th and Thursday, March 1st.  (Click here for MEMORIES.) I'm excited about this free promotion – I can't wait to see how many downloads my book gets and whether or not it will affect my sales afterwards. I am also excited to get this story in readers' hands and, hopefully, get a few reviews from it.

My KDP Select Experiment

Even though I've had eBooks for sale on Amazon since late November 2011, I didn't enroll any of them in the KDP Select Program. I had read so many negative articles by authors about the program so I wasn't convinced that it might help my books. Since then, I've read many, many blog posts by people who have actually tried the program and experienced success from it. While everyone doesn't have the same results, so far from what I can tell trying KDP Select and using your free days doesn't really hurt either – so it's worth a try. (Read my post on why I considered enrolling in KDP Select.)

In all honesty, I really wanted to try the program with my other eBook, WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE first, but it didn't work out. It was easy to remove my books from Smashwords, but I'm having trouble with Barnes & Noble. My books are published on B&N through Smashwords, so I'm waiting for B&N to get the word to take the books off. Unfortunately, after several weeks and a couple of e-mails to B&N and Smashwords from me, it just isn't happening. If anyone reading this has had this same experience and have advice on how to get B&N to take your books down, I'd love to hear from you.

But all that aside, I decided to place MEMORIES on KDP Select first and try it out. I'm told that romances do well on free days, so we will see. Starting on Wednesday, MEMORIES will be free for 2 days and I will track how the free downloads are doing. Then I will keep track of sales after the free day to see if they have risen. I will be sure to keep you all posted – I know there are still many authors out there who aren't sure about trying KDP Select and are looking to see how others are doing.

Wish me luck! If you want to tell all your friends about my romance novel MEMORIES being free and tweet all your followers, I'd really appreciate it. J



Saturday, February 25, 2012

MEMORIES - My New Novel is Now on Amazon! FREE Days Scheduled!

Hi all,
Memories book cover designed by
Tugboat Design.

Finally, after months of writing, re-writing, editing and re-editing, and having my proofreader edit again, my third novel MEMORIES is now published on Amazon. I am so excited to share this powerful romance with all of you. I hope you will view the description of the book on my MEMORIES book page and check it out on Amazon.

What is MEMORIES About?

MEMORIES is a women's fiction/romance novel with much, much more. It can also be described as a family drama. It not only follows the two main characters, Michael DeCara and Danielle Westerly,  through their relationship over a period of almost 40 years, but adds a full characterization of each person including Michael's Vietnam War past, the pain Danielle held within herself for over nineteen years and Michael's daughter's tragedy.  MEMORIES will make you smile, make you cry and will warm your heart.

MEMORIES is on the KDP Select Program

 When I uploaded MEMORIES to Amazon, I decided to enroll this new book in the KDP Select Program. So, that means that MEMORIES will only be available to Amazon Kindle users for the first 90 days. Why would I do this? I did it to take advantage of the FREE promotion days that KDP Select offers its authors. I want to get this book into reader's hands so they can read and enjoy it. I also (selfishly perhaps?) want to give this novel the chance at greater exposure that the promotion days offer. I also liked the idea of the book being available to Prime Members to borrow. Many people have had success with this program and I hope that after the 90 days, I can say that I had success with it also.

For those of you who do not own a Kindle – be assured that after the 90 days I will more than likely place MEMORIES on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. I think those sites also offer good opportunities and look forward to adding my books on both.

MEMORIES Free Days on Amazon

Now for the best part – I have scheduled my first two FREE days for MEMORIES and I want to let you all know when they are. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 28th & Thursday, March 1st so you won't forget to download a free Kindle copy of my novel. I want as many people as possible to enjoy this book, so be sure to tell your friends also.

I hope you get a chance to download a copy of MEMORIES onto your Kindle and read it. If you do, I would really appreciate if you would write a review for Amazon or Goodreads, or both. But most of all, I hope you enjoy the book.



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Considering the KDP Select Program for My Books

Hi all,

I've been doing a lot of research lately on Amazon's KDP Select program in order to decide if I should try it for my books. From everything I've read, I am leaning toward trying the program. Here are my reasons why:

  • I Want to Get the Word Out About My Books
Right now I am spending most of my time finding ways to promote my two books and even promoting my new book which I plan to have out by the end of March. Twitter, Facebook, author interviews and advertising are all wonderful and I'm sure I've made some of my sales through each of these mediums, but there has to be another route to take. Frankly, from everything I've read, people who promote their books through KDP Select generally see an increase in interest in their books due to the free promotions. I'm curious to see what that will do for mine.

  • I Want to See if the Free Promotion Will Lead to Sales
I am really curious to see what a free promotion through the KDP Select program will do for the sales of my books. Many people report that for days, or even weeks, after offering one book for free their sales continue to either remain high or steadily increase. Right now I am not selling a bevy of books, so any increase in sales would be a boon.

  • I Sell 99% of My Books on Amazon Anyway

I know the big downer for most authors is the exclusivity agreement with Amazon for sales of their eBook. I really don't have a problem with that. About 99% of my sales are through Amazon so I won't make many (or any!) readers angry if my book isn't available in any other format. 

  • I Want to See If the Free Promotion Will Help Sales for My Other Books
Since I will be releasing my 3rd book soon, I would like to see if I can give it a good opening month by being a part of the KDP Select program. If I do a free promotion on my "Widow…" book, maybe it will help with my new one. I have no idea, but it's worth a try. Getting your name and work out there is half the battle and this program seems to be doing just that for many authors.

Make Sure to Have a Plan

Before trying KDP Select, however, I wanted to make sure I had a plan that would help maximize free downloads and sales. Sure, I could just jump into it and hope for the best but that doesn't seem smart, especially when so many people have tried it and share their own tips. So, after reading up on what works and doesn’t work for others, I've decided that if I do go through with this, this is how I plan to go about it.

  • Publish my new book first – Having more than one book to offer makes sense so that if people like the one they download for free, they are more likely to buy your other one. While I do have my children's book, Outlaw Heroes, it is better to have another women's fiction novel ready for purchase. (I'll be placing Outlaws on KDP Select separately at some point.) So I'll wait to join KDP Select until after my next book is out.
  • Plan my free days carefully – From what I've read, people seem to have the most success using their 5 free days in intervals of 2-2-1. Also, planning your days right before a weekend seems to be the best since book sales boost on the weekends. So this is the strategy that I will most likely use.
  • Promote-Promote-Promote – There are a multitude of sites that will promote your FREE days to their readers, so I will be sure to let these sites know in advance when I will be having my free days.

Okay, those are my reasons for trying the program and my plan on how to maximize using KDP Select. If you are considering trying this program, here are a few blog posts you should read. I've done the research – might as well share with everyone else. J

Jeff Bennington: The Writing Bomb – How to have a successful KDP Free Promo:

So, what are your thoughts?



Monday, February 6, 2012

Advertising Your eBook - Is Paid Advertising a Waste of Money?

Hi all,

I was reading some comments around the Internet on the topic of paying for advertising for your eBook. A few people had very strong opinions on how paying for ads is a waste of your money and won't bring in any extra sales. I suppose that may be their experience, but my experience has been different. I do think that some paid advertising, in the right places, can actually add to your sales. Here is what I've found out over the two months that I've been actively advertising my eBooks.

Paid Advertising is an Investment

Just like any new venture, you won't always see a huge return right away for the money you invest. But in the long run, the investment into the project can pay off. Let's say you are starting a clothing store. You can't start selling anything until you pay to stock the store with merchandise. After that, you need to let customers know where to find you. If you just sit in an empty store waiting for customers to give you money so you can start investing into your business, well, let's just say that you won't be earning a cent. 

It's kind of like this with your eBook. You've taken the time to write a beautiful, interesting book for people to read. You may have spent money on creating an interesting cover image and having your book formatted for different eBook formats. You've already invested time and a little money into your product. Now, are you just going to sit and wait to see if anyone finds your book on the big, world-wide Internet? No, of course not. You will spend hours promoting your book to friends on Twitter, Facebook, book sites,  and anywhere you can spread the word. But will that be enough?

I see paying for advertising as a way to tell the world that my book is here and I want you to see it. While you may not see a huge return the first few weeks or even months, you will eventually. The rule of thumb is that people have to see your product advertised at least 7 times before they actually click on the ad. But if there is no where for people to see your book, then how will you ever get them to make that first click?

Advertise on Sites Where Your Audience Is

If you are thinking of paying for a few ads, make sure to advertise where your audience is. That means, if your book is about aliens from Mars, you will want to advertise on Sci-Fi sites, not on a woman's shoe blog. It doesn't matter if the woman's shoe blog gets 100,000 hits a month - these are not your customers. Good places to advertise are book review blogs (in your genre), book sites, and blogs that fit your genre. Look for places where people are actively searching for books. But be discriminating. Just because a site gets a lot of traffic, if they are charging you $25/day or more, then think twice. Will you really sell more books in that one day of advertising than if you spend $25/week or month on another site? Bigger isn't always better.

Where I Advertise

My eBook journey started fairly recently, so I've had a crash-course in everything eBook. In November 2011 I decided to format and self-publish two books I'd previously written and get them out on the main sites. By the last week in November, the books were out and I began actively promoting them. My very first month of promoting my eBooks, I sold 40 copies. No, this isn't enough to retire on but I thought for a first month, it was pretty good since only 30 days before no one had ever heard of my books. Now, into my second month, I am selling books at a nice pace. I do believe that my consistant sales have something to do with the places I've paid for advertising.

Where do I advertise? First and foremost, if you don't have your books listed on Goodreads and you are not active in the community there, then you should be. Your audience is at Goodreads. Readers are on Goodreads, actively searching for books to read. Having a profile there is FREE - so you have no excuse not to be there. Next, try advertising your book with one of their "self-service ads". I have one ad for each of my books there and that is where I am sure most of my sales have come from. People actively search those ads - more days than not, my ad for "Widow, Virgin, Whore" is on the first two pages because it is clicked so much. Over 40 people have added my book to their "to-read" list and several have already purchased it. My children's book, "Outlaw Heroes", has also had many "to-read" adds by readers, even though it doesn't get as many clicks as the other book. In other words, people are seeing my book, reading what it is about and adding it to their lists. And best of all, their friends in the community see this too, which means more clicks for me.

Is it expensive? It doesn't have to be. You can set your monthly limit and click rate yourself. If you only want to spend $10/month - that's all you have to spend. I have mine set at $3.50 a day/.35 cents per click. This is higher than some people do and a lot lower than others, but it works well for me. Some days I reach my limit, others I don't. It really is worth the try to get more exposure for your books.

Advertising on BlogAds

Another place where I've purchased advertising is BlogAds. You can choose to spend as little or as much as you want. You choose where to advertise from a long list of blogs that participate, and they give you their monthly unique visitor stats. Then you create the size of ad you want or can afford. Be very picky when choosing a blog to advertise on, however. I had a few ads that did very well and a couple that were duds. But all in all, I was pleased with the service. Can I say for sure that I sold a book because of these ads - no. But I don't think it hurt to have my book featured where thousands of people saw it.

Of Course, Don't Discount Free Advertising

If you have a large presence in the blogging community, then don't hesitate to swap ads with other bloggers and friends around the net. There are also quite a few book sites that will list your book for free, and they earn their money by placing ads on their blogs. List your book everywhere you can - the more people see it, the bigger chance they will eventually buy it.

So, is it worth it to pay for advertising? You tell me. I'd love to hear about your experiences promoting your eBooks. :)