Tag Archives: KDP Select

amazon kdp free promotions: have they stopped being effective?

From my point of view, yes. I did very well out of free promos in the past, boosting my ranking for weeks to come, (if not months), and selling a lot of books. However, I’ve seen the effectiveness of the free promo slowly peter out, with both older and new books. Gone, it seems, are the days of authors doing a free give-away and then hitting the best seller lists. I spent some time in the Kindle top 100, initially overall and then, for a longer period of time, within two or three categories after free promotions. Now I’m lucky to sell a handful of books after. And I’m not the only one: sales of self published eBooks – and indeed eBooks in general – seem to be down across the board.

I’m not absolutely sure why free promos don’t work as well now, and I’m sure there are authors who find them still to be effective. But here are  a few suggestions: Amazon seems to have changed the algorithms for ranking, so that your book no longer goes back on sale with its end of promo ranking, but instead appears to go back to where it was before the promo; publishers can and do sell their books for as little as 26p, (around 43c), but indie authors can’t reduce their books to less than 75p;  cut price books seem to have replaced free books from traditional publishers, so the top 100 free books are now of mixed quality (some are really good, others are dire – there is quite a variation with indie books); the market is now saturated with free and low price books, some of which are superb.

I have been loyal to Amazon and have tied myself to KDP Select since publishing my first book with them. This has meant that I’ve traded the right to publish across several platforms for the chance to boost sales and make money through the Amazon Prime lending program and free promos. However, I don’t think I’ll be renewing my affiliation to KDP Select when my current three months is up. Borrows don’t make me much money, since most of my readers seem to be British and Amazon Prime doesn’t seem to have taken off here. It’s time to have a look at what Apple iBooks can offer me.

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

Aunt Sally & More: http://amzn.to/12fQSIy & http://amzn.to/Y5ZaTi

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

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AUNT SALLY & MORE due out on Amazon this December

Cover image by Beccy Blake: http://beccyblake.com/

Here is the blurb for Aunt Sally & More, sequel to The Aunt Sally Team (http://amzn.to/MgZRmW http://amzn.to/LJvFhf): 

Find out what happens to the Aunt Sally team. A year on and it’s still going strong, but the lives of some of its members, past and present, seem to be in upheaval.

Dante is out of rehab, wanting Diana to give him another chance. But she finds that giving up drink is only the beginning of a long, rocky road for an alcoholic. His daughter Lucy fears abandonment and wants her dad to herself, and his old flame Lou has inveigled her way into his thoughts again. Can Dante and Diana’s love survive the trials and pitfalls as he fights his addictions and gets his emotions in balance?

Beth is drawn into the world of fashion, with all its glamour and dangers. She’s divided between her love for Zac, who’s back for the summer, and Harvey, who gives her the break she needs but seems to have a hidden agenda. The only person she can be sure of is pagan musician Humphrey, who’s like an older brother to her. In the end, torn between the two sides of her nature, she questions who she is and her health and sanity are threatened.

Harry wants to leave Oxford and go away to uni. Can Lucy trust him or will he desert her like her dad did? After all, there will be loads of new girls to tempt him. When she runs into Zac then meets a handsome stranger on a train, things get more complicated than ever.

Lissa and Rashi return to Oxford from Sheffield with baby Ravi and move into the George and Dragon, home of the Aunt Sally team. Liss wants to make a go of it, but her Indian in-laws don’t want their son to have an English wife. The pressure on her marriage mounts till she wonders if she and Rashi can survive.

Jason and Rose are deeply in love but don’t have anywhere to be together. When things start to resolve, they take on Tyson, a puppy with a dodgy past and an uncertain future.

And Vera is determined to keep her friendship with Jim under control and on an even keel.

Sex, drugs and fashion modelling; Druids at the Neolithic Rollright Stone Circle; mushroom picking in the autumn woods; a gypsy-like existence aboard traditional canal boats on the river; old loves and new; all the ups and downs of relationships under pressure – Aunt Sally & More explores some of life’s deeper issues…but there’s still romance and wonder in the world, and Oxford and its surroundings are as beautiful as ever.

 

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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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