Monday, May 27, 2013

Kindle Select - FREE BOOKS!

Why would anyone want to give something away that they spent years creating? Aside from blatant benevolence, the answer could be to eventually direct you to something that does cost money. Like your second book. If you are a new author, building a reader base is extremely important. More important than money, unfortunately. Especially if you are in this for the duration and hoping to build a career. Getting in people's faces and heads is everything for a new author. visibility. Exposure.
And that is why Amazon Kindle has a program called SELECT where you can give away downloads of your book 5 days out of the 90 day program--free downloads of a book that you might have spent years writing. It seems like a terrible idea when what you want is to make money from writing books. However, if you can see ahead a year, the free days can help your ranking on Amazon, which helps to sell books. On Amazon, (the biggest book sellers in the world), ranking is everything. If you get yourself in the top 100 on the paid list, you can look forward to some sales that are generated purely by being on that list. No advertising necessary. Unless you want to keep the momentum and propel it farther up the list. Which you should. It's not a great idea to sit back and watch your success. Marketing is an ongoing process.
Unless you're Nicholas Sparks and wrote Safe Haven. Then you can sit back and rake in the money because your book reached #1 and stayed there for a long time.
Kindle Select gives you the opportunity to get exposure, but it's up to you to advertise your free days and get on lists with your generous offering. Over the last few months, I've compiled a secret list of forty publications who will announce your free days and direct traffic to download your novel. The higher your ranking gets, the more likelihood that when free days ends, you will maintain sales for a while if you play your cards right. And it's good to have a marketing plan for after free days like cheap ads, keeping the cost of the book low and good reviews to keep sales coming in.
Should you do all 5 days together or split them up? I've done both and I'm not sure what is best. When my Romantic Suspense did all 5 together it garnered 35,000 downloads and got some kick-ass sales for six weeks after. Then the publisher raised the price and things are not going as well. My Paranormal Romance has only ever split up the free days. Because it's self pubbed, I can choose and it does well enough with 3 days in a row. I would never do one day because you need the momentum to build. And five days feels like too much. I want to save two free days to give the book another shot in the arm next month. The Dream Jumper's Promise was free May 26-28 and after the first 24 hours, had 12,000 downloads, reaching #4 in the Kindle store FREE and  #1 in paranormal romance. The FREE lists are way different than the paid lists but still a good indication of how the public likes your cover and blurb. At the point of writing this, in my free days, I'm just hoping, that with another 40 hours to go, I can maintain my position or even reach #1 in the Free Store (above that dad-burned 160 calorie cookbook!)
Free Days has helped us self pubbed or newbie authors gain a fighting chance in this market. Since ebooks and self pubs have opened to writers who used to spend years trying to get an agent, editor, publisher and readers, there is now a lot of floatsum and jetsam out there and the discerning reader must sift through it to find a good read. But, if they like your cover, your blurb, you reviews, your name, anything, they might 'buy' it for free, read it, review and tell their friends to read it when it costs money.
Granted, many of the readers who buy your free book will never read it and those who do will probably never write a review or refer someone to your book but some might. There are millions of readers out there in the world, buying books, downloads, entertainment, and even if there is a slight chance of a hundred real sales and 2 reviews, it's worth it to do free days.
Even though it's hard to giveaway something that you value greatly, the idea behind free days is that you have to 'spend money to make money'. Give something away for the reward later. Readership. So go ahead and get writing that second book while free days are on because you know they're going to ask for it. And you'll probably have to offer that one free at the beginning too.
Good luck Writers and don't forget to check your SELECT actions on KDP to make decide if you want to re-enroll in SELECT when your 90 days ends. Otherwise it automatically gets re-enrolled for you.

Kim Hornsby is the author of NECESSARY DETOUR, published by The Wild Rose Press and
as well as a contributing author to SWEET SUMMERTIME LOVE

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