Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Newbie Does KDP Select

If you’re publishing your books through Amazon, you know what KDP Select is; Amazon requires authors who join the program to sell their book exclusively with it for a 90-day period.  During that period, the books are eligible for the Kindle Lending Library and most importantly, authors can make their book free for up to five days during that 90-day period.

When KDP was first introduced, a lot of authors saw downloads of their books skyrocket during free days, which translated to increased exposure, greater reader engagement and most importantly sales.  KDP was viewed as one of the most powerful tools an author could have in their arsenal and a lot of folks benefitted greatly from it.

Somewhere along the line though, authors began to fall out of love with the program, as it didn’t seem to have the impact it once had – there were too many books being offered free all the time.  According to the jungle drums, the novelty had worn off and the program was no longer worth it.

As a new author on Amazon, I decided to enroll “Live and Let Die” into KDP Select and give the free days a whirl.  Why not?  Free is free and not too many folks turn down free.

I’m now heading into my final day of offering “Live and Let Die” as a free download on Amazon Kindle through12/30/12 and overall, I’m happy (more on my results in a minute).  I had zero expectations going in with regards free downloads.  I could have had two or 20,000.  If nothing else, I figured I would put the word out and see what happened.  I did a few tweets and uncovered a really handy resource at, which has a free book submission tool that gives you one place to submit your book’s free days to the most popular sites promoting free and bargain books.  Easy breezy. 

Instead of breaking up my five free days, I decided to lump them all together starting on December 26.  I wanted to take advantage of post-holiday bargain hunting as well as (hopefully) capture people who’d gotten a Kindle for Christmas and were in search of free books to fill it up with.

So far, I’ve had:

342 downloads in the U.S.
90 in the U.K.
10 in Germany
1 in Canada

I know these aren’t blockbuster numbers by any means, but as I said, I’m happy; that’s over 400 people who’d never heard of me or my book until now. Hopefully, they’ll like what they read and will be interested in reading “Sweet Little Lies” when it’s released in 2013.
You have to start somewhere.    

I will definitely stick with KDP Select when launching future releases.  I don’t think I’d do all five days at once again, but rather, break them up over the course of the 90-days and maybe do some giveaways and other fun stuff in conjunction with the free downloads. 

I think for new authors and even more established authors, KDP Select offers a great way to engage readers.

And that’s a good thing.









Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Keep Writing

I was a freshman in high school when I checked out Mary Higgins Clark’s spine-tingling novel, “The Cradle Will Fall,” from the library.  I finished it in a matter of days and was back at the library ready to scoop up “Where Are the Children?” another page-turner-that-keeps-you-up-at-night.  I checked out her entire backlist over the course of a few months and once I’d read everything she’d written to that point, I started waiting for new releases to come out in paperback and adding them to my book collection.  In short, I couldn’t get enough of what Mary Higgins Clark wrote.

By having a robust backlist and staying so prolific, Mary Higgins Clark turned me into an ardent devotee.  While these two factors have always been key for an author to build readership, in today’s eBook and POD world, they’re particularly crucial, especially for indie authors.  Readers have become impatient and no longer expect to wait a year or more for the latest book by their favorite author, but mere months.  You have to feed the beast.  A lot of authors are accomplishing this by releasing novellas and short stories to tide readers over until the next book release.

As the indie author movement continues to surge, we’re hearing a lot of overnight success stories of first-timers taking the bestseller lists by storm with their debut novels.  While it’s definitely awesome and inspiring to hear these kinds of stories, the cold hard truth is, it just doesn't happen like that for everyone. While our instinct is to throw all of our energies behind promoting our one and only book in the hopes we, and it, will become “The Next Big Thing,” our time is better spent working on our next novel.  And the one after that and the one after that. And so on and so on.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t market our work – of course we should!  But not to the exclusion of the most important marketing activity of all – writing. Being an author means you’re running a marathon, not a sprint and any marathoner will tell you that you have to pace yourself in order to run the race. 

While I hope my first novel, “Live and Let Die” is wildly successful out of the gate, I’m realistic; it could take some time before it finds its audience.  While I continue to be on the lookout for promotional opportunities for it, I’ve got my next release “Sweet Little Lies” in the hands of my “Ideal Reader,” with plans to release it in 2013, and have the first drafts of two more manuscripts in the queue for release next year.  I’ll also be spending my Christmas vacation plotting two more novels (in between shoving my face with Christmas cookies and wine, of course.)

Become prolific. Spend less time worrying about how to increase sales for your current book and concentrate instead on building ardent devotees for your body of work.

Just keep writing.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Live and Let Die" Available on Amazon Kindle!

I'm thrilled to be able to say that FINALLY, after some false starts, my suspense novel "Live and Let Die," is available as an eBook on Amazon Kindle!

Read an excerpt here and purchase on Amazon Kindle here.  In the very near future, "Live and Let Die" will be available in other formats via Smashwords, but for now, it is available exclusively on Kindle.

It has been a long journey towards joining the ranks of indie authors.  Who knows what will happen next, but no matter what, I'm excited to be here! :-)