Tag Archives: KDP free promo

KDP Select free promo part 3, negative reviews, tags & categories & a little bit more dog news

As you will know if you’ve read my recent blog entries, I’ve done two previous KDP Select free promos and they’ve been wildly successful. They’ve boosted the visibility of The Aunt Sally Team (http://amzn.to/MgZRmW & http://amzn.to/LJvFhf), led to a huge bump in both sales and ranking that lasted several weeks after each promo, and gained me several lovely reviews in the UK, not to mention new readers. As sales had finally tailed off again, I decided to do another promo last week, running for three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This one has gained me a lowly 39 sales post promo and one very nasty 1 star review (the other 22 reviews were 5 and 4 star) and one public announcement on Twitter, by a total stranger, informing me of her adverse view of my book – how kind of her to let me know along with the rest of the world! Why the other two promos were so successful and this one wasn’t, I have no idea. Perhaps it was timing, doing it at the end of the summer holidays, when people are back at work and school, or perhaps it was because it was timed to run over part of the weekend, which is supposed to be the optimum buying time.

Which brings me to negative reviews. Every writer gets them sooner or later, if they have their work publicly accessible, and indeed other authors say that they can be an almost inevitable consequence of letting your work be downloaded free (in which case, I was very lucky with my first two promos.)  If the review is constructive, then it can be taken on board, no matter how unpleasant it might be receiving it. However, many negative reviews are by people who clearly haven’t read a book and who are being inaccurate or spiteful for reasons of their own. There has been a lot in the news recently about sock puppets, other authors or publishers creating bogus personas to post destructive reviews of rival authors work; but to be honest, and without discounting this, there have always been bad reviews no matter the quality of the book concerned. You can’t please everybody and what appeals to one person will be anathema to another. You even get people slating a book because it wasn’t in a genre they would normally read, and the sense of that is very hard to comprehend.

But don’t let anyone tell you negative reviews don’t hurt. How can they not when you are making the products of personal creativity and hard work available to strangers? Not only that, but bad reviews are destructive in other ways.  I’m pretty sure that the reading public will discount one or two bad reviews amidst several good ones, but I’ve seen perfectly sound books where a 1 star review seems to have sparked several more in the same vein. I won’t review a book at all if I can’t give it at least 3 stars. I know what it’s like to rely on writing to make a living (no matter how small) and to want to please people with your writing, and I know how hurtful negative reviews can be, so I won’t do it to other people.

Leading on from this, it’s very important to pay attention to tags and categories when publishing onto Amazon and other eBook sites. Both these make it easier for readers to find your books, and the more apt the tags and categories, the better they will point to your work. I’ve shifted the categories on both my books. I’d listed one of the categories for The Aunt Sally Team as humour, as it’s written in a slightly tongue-in-cheek style and people who had read it said it made them laugh. But it isn’t out and out snort your coffee over your keyboard humour. Every time I’ve offered the book free, it’s shot to around the top of the humour charts on Amazon UK. But…this is a huge category and you have to sell a lot of books to stay up there once your book goes back on paid. I did manage to reach the #3 slot in paid humour on the UK Amazon site and stayed in the top 10 for quite a long time, but in the long term I was up against authors like Nick Spalding and Terry Pratchett, both of whom have shifted hundreds of thousands of books. Not only that, but one reader, who gave me a 4 star review and was otherwise generous with her comments, did say it hadn’t made her laugh. I’ve now put my book in Contemporary Fiction and Women Authors and Fiction and will monitor how that affects sales and ranking.

Moving on from writing, our Saluki lurcher, Isha, is settling in more and more. she was emaciated when found by the rescue organisation we got her from (Evesham Greyhound & Lurcher Rescue: http://bit.ly/RIl2Bt), but she’s filled out with both flesh and muscle. She’s is so gentle and loving but incredibly playful and can be a handful off the lead, when she wants to play with every dog she meets. After the wet summer here in England, we have beautiful sunny weather, with crisp mornings and warm days, so walking the dogs is a joy. I guess book sales, reviews and all else aside, that’s what makes life worthwhile.

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KDP Select free promo part 2, sunny Britain and dog news

My first free promotion of The Aunt Sally Team on Amazon KDP Select was so unexpectedly successful (see my blog entry https://flickm.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/is-kdp-select-worth-the-restrictions-2-2/) that I ran a second one on the 18th and 19th of this month (July). Sales had been fantastic for quite some time after the event, but were finally dwindling to around 10 books per day, so I felt I had nothing to lose.

I’m experiencing another sales boost, but it isn’t as spectacular as the first. I think one reason is that the promo ran for one less day. I had only half the number of free downloads compared with last time. However, I’m still selling a pleasing quantity of The Aunt Sally Team. Some of these sales may be down to my activity on Twitter, of course, and I have noticed increased traffic on my Blog since I began tweeting, plus my other book The Sacred Marriage has picked up. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the bulk of downloads is due to the free promo.

The Aunt Sally Team: http://amzn.to/MgZRmW & http://amzn.to/LJvFhf

The Sacred Marriage: http://amzn.to/LhdwVm & http://amzn.to/Lr8JoY

I’m pleased that the sequel to The Aunt Sally Team is rolling along. I’ve done over 9,000 words and it’s beginning to come together after the sticky start. I had no idea that doing a sequel would be quite that hard: it’s very strange picking up on the characters’ lives a year on from when I began writing the first book and several months on in terms of the events in the book itself. I just treated myself to an iPad 3 with my royalties and I have to say that it makes writing a joy as it’s like a mini laptop and can be used anywhere.

Meanwhile, it’s stopped raining and Britain is enjoying lovely hot, sunny weather along with an absolute profusion of wild flowers in fields, hedgerows and roadside borders – no doubt the result of weeks of rain followed by sun. The heat is much appreciated by Isha, our rescue Saluki cross but not so much by our Border collie/Husky, Dennis, who gets very puffed. Isha has settled in incredibly quickly and it feels as if she’s been here forever. Happy days!

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is KDP Select worth the restrictions?

I’m afraid this is yet another KDP Select free promo tale, but bear with me. I’ve read masses of blog entries lately from fellow authors saying that KDP Select isn’t worth it now that Amazon have changed their ranking algorithms so that free downloads don’t count as a full sale now for purposes of determining sales rank. But my experience has been very positive. I duly pulled my book The Aunt Sally Team:  http://amzn.to/MgZRmW http://amzn.to/LJvFhf from Smashwords and Lulu as one’s work has to be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days to qualify for the Select program. I then scheduled the promotion for 3 days starting Friday 15th June.

The promotion exceeded my wildest expectations. I had over 8500 downloads globally, the greatest number being in the UK. The book shot to # 2 in the Amazon UK Kindle free top 100 and stayed there. OK I thought, but what will happen once it goes back on paid? Well, first of all my ranking disappeared for a couple of hours, but then the sales started rolling in. The Aunt Sally Team moved into the Kindle top 100 paid list and stayed there for 5 days, peaking at # 53. It was also # 3 in Humour, stayed in the Humour top 10 till yesterday and is still in the top 20 Humour on UK Amazon. It rose high in both Contemporary Fiction and Romance too. 11 days later my sales are at last slowing down and the ranking has dropped drastically, but during the halcyon period I made more money in a week than I’ve done in a month working at jobs other than writing. I’ve also had several new 5 star reviews, which is wonderful and for which I’m inordinately grateful. It’s grand when you reach new readers and when those readers show their appreciation for your work. It’s one of the things that makes writing worth while.

Interestingly, although the downloads in America during the free promotion ran into thousands, I’ve only sold 10 books over there and had 2 borrows since. I see from Nick Spalding’s blog that he’s done well in America with his books, but my book hasn’t taken off there, and I wonder if it’s because the British and American senses of humour are rather different, or is it maybe because my novel is peppered with British colloquial terms.

So would I do another free promo? I have two days left and yes, I will use them unless sales pick up again or even stay where they are. I’m hoping that one more free promo will boost visibility and ranking enough for the book to catch on in a bigger way. But I can’t complain as, before the promotion, it was all but undiscoverable and selling only a few copies a month. The only downside for me was when I discovered, quite by accident, that my novel had had a high ranking in some humour charts in Australia. I expect I’ll lose those sales as I’ve unpublished the book from Lulu and Smashwords.

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