Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Amazon's KDP Select — Is it for You?

KDP Select is Amazon's little sweetener for its authors and its Amazon Prime customers.

If you sign up with Amazon to make your eBook available exclusively to them for 90 days then your book is made available on the KDP select program. This allows Amazon Prime customers to borrow their book if they so desire (they are allowed 1 eBook borrow per month). You also get five days within the 90 day period where you can offer your eBook for free.

Yes... that's right, a free offering of your eBook. But why do that? I hear you ask. You have poured your heart and soul into the book so why give it away? Especially as, for those days where it is being offered for free lost of eBooks will shift, but you will not be getting any income from them.

Well, to understand the whys you have to understand a little of how Amazon works. Within Amazon's system, each book is ranked by a number of factors, which very importantly includes the number of sales. Now it does not matter what the price of the book is. A download equals a sale.

If you have a new book and no reputation then you want people to notice you book. But if the book is not selling because no one knows you then no one will see your book.

But, if you offer it for free then the book is made visible in the 'Free eBooks' pages and you get downloads. Each download equals a sale, which means that your book climbs in the Sales Ranks.

OK, so it's almost impossible to get into the top 100 for an eBook and if you are a new author you might as well forget that. However, books in Amazon are sold in categories and if you choose the right category, then your sales rank might only be 40 000 overall but you could still be in the top 10 for that category. Just make sure you chose relevant but slightly more obscure categories when you upload your eBook onto Amazon.

Like most things this is all about planning. Chose the correct categories for your eBook, then plan for when your eBook will be available for free. Tweet about the promotion, write about it on your website and blog, create a banner, mention it on your Amazon Author page. Also, you have 5 days to play with. I think it's best to do the free days in two blocks. I tend to go for 2 days first and then 3 days over two successive weekends.

Get your marketing ready, maybe issue a press release. Write an article about it. Anything to get as many people to download the book as possible so that you get a big spike in sales ranking. This ranking will last a while and will drive sales.

If you are a new author and a new book you may also get reviews out of this. Improving your rank will also get book review sites to notice your book. Email them, talk about your book and get them to review it. More reviews of 4 or 5 helps your book's ranking in Amazon as well.

This is a campaign to get your book noticed and actually bought and like any campaign, it needs to be planned properly and thought out. Giving your book away for free can lead to more sales (just think of the 'loss leader' or the 'promotion'). But in terms of eBook sales, it an be even more important to use it properly to give you that initial boost you need to get your sales going.

And just remember that the secret of getting your eBook sales to take off is as much about word of mouth as anything else. Get people talking about your book, blogging about your book and writing about your book. For that to happen, you have to do some of the groundwork in terms of marketing your book.

But you also need to get your book into the hands of readers. And for that to happen giving your book away for a brief period, as long as you have done the ground-work to maximize the effect can be the best marketing campaign you can have.

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