by Madelle Morgan
I learned a few promotion-related tidbits important to indie romance authors (and readers) at the Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio, Texas last month.
When I wasn't having fun with a couple of cowboys, that is...
At a two hour workshop, Amazon representatives described how Amazon continues to evolve its services to support indie authors. Why? Simply put, self-publishing is profitable. Latest figures available show that a third of the top 100 e-books on Amazon.com were indie-published. One hundred fifty (150) authors publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) sold over $100,000 worth of books in 2013 on Amazon. That's not the total. That's the amount each author earned.
Other pluses for KDP authors are global distribution and sales data. Amazon distributes to 246 countries. KDP offers real time sales reports. Bookscan data is available describing where, geographically, books are selling for a specific period. This provides valuable, timely feedback on the impact of specific marketing initiatives. On the print side, CreateSpace is going to be offering professional services for editing, cover design and marketing indie-published print books.
Amazon's Discovery Options for Readers & Authors
When an author puts an e-book into the KDP Select program, the book is sold exclusively on Amazon for up to 90 days. While the author's book is in that program, the author can make it free for up to five days within that 90 day period. When not free, that book can be discounted via the Kindle Countdown Deals for up to seven days. You are probably familiar with Kindle Daily Deals. As well, a KDP Select e-book is automatically enrolled in the new Kindle Unlimited "loan" program. See below.
Stay Up To Date
This feature on the right menu on an Amazon Author Page allows readers to subscribe to an automatic email when the author has a new release. I'm absolutely loving this alert option, because when the next books in my favorite series are published I'm automatically notified.
A new feature (or at least new to me) allows an author to set up a Series Landing Page - a list of all the books in a series. When a reader searches for an author and gets the list of all the author's works, she'll see a link that takes her to a page with a list of all the books in the series, in order, as well as any connected works such as box sets and short stories. If the author sets up a page for each series, that is!
Here's Marie Force's Amazon page for her series "The McCarthys of Gansett Island."
Hot New Releases
To my surprise, the books on this coveted list are chosen by the Amazon merchandizing team! It's a curated list. The books on it are not selected because of some mysterious algorithm magic.
Amazon is Enabling Readers to Read a Lot of Books Cheaply
Kindle Lending Library
This is available exclusively to Prime members. Readers have to read at least 10% of the book before the author receives any money (currently approx $2 per book loaned).
Kindle Unlimited - NEW
This service for U.S.-based subscribers has just launched. They pay $9.99 per month for unlimited reading and listening on any device. Books in KDP Select are automatically added to the Kindle Unlimited library of over 600,000 works for the duration of the time the book is in the KDP Select program. This is a wonderful way for readers to discover new authors without a financial commitment. Readers, as I understand it, please note that the book will disappear from your device the moment the audio or e-book is no longer in the KDP Select program.
Kindle Daily Deals
This has to be one of your go-to pages on Amazon.
Match Book - NEW
Purchasers of a print copy can buy the digital version for a discounted price.
Please note Kobo offers promo support such as pricing strategies along with its self-publishing platform Kobo Writing Life. Unfortunately I couldn't attend the Kobo workshop due to a conflict, but will listen to the audiotape. With promo strategies offered by innovative distributors like Amazon and Kobo, indie authors are sitting pretty, darlin'!
Any factual errors in the above descriptions are my own, not Amazon's. Blame it on these frosty delights I enjoyed while relaxing beside the beautiful Riverwalk canal.
And Finally, the RITA Goes To...
The annual Romance Writers of America RITA Awards recognize outstanding published romance novels and novellas. At this year's gala ceremony it became crystal chandelier clear to me that indie publishing has reached a tipping point. A self-published novel won the RITA in the Romantic Suspense category! Several other indie novels were nominated.
I walked onto the plane at the San Antonio airport after a great conference convinced that it's a no-brainer for an author to try self-publishing.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!