kdp select 2013Yes, I’m going to talk about KDP Select again.

I’ll let you in on a secret. My previous post on how to maximise your KDP Select free days is rather popular with the Google searchers. Maybe it’s because of good SEO, or content, or whatever — I don’t know. But the fact that tonnes of people seem to hit this post every day makes me determined to keep my KDP Select experiences up to date.

Where do I stand on KDP Select going into 2013?

Pretty much in the same place, with a few alterations. I’d recommend reading my last post on KDP first. That’ll get you to grips with the basics behind my philosophy and attitudes towards Amazon’s brilliant tool.

Done? Of course you haven’t, but what the hell. Here’s a few updated attitudes in light of a recent KDP Select promo of What We Saw, my debut novel.

1.) When coupled with promotion, KDP will put your book into the hands of tens of thousands of new readers.

I hear a lot of authors complaining about how KDP Select just isn’t effective anymore. It was a bubble, and that bubble burst long ago.

To that notion, I call bullshit.

Here’s why: I just gave away 11,000+ copies of my novel, What We Saw, over a two day period. It’s a standalone debut novel, so no, you don’t have to have a series, and no, you don’t have to have loads of books.

All you need is promotion. Free promotion.

I’d highly recommend signing up over at AuthorMarketingClub if you want to get the most from your KDP Select promo, and submitting to every single one of the websites. At least a few will mention you, and when they do, they’ll get you from the hundreds to the thousands, and beyond.

What We Saw was mentioned by Free Kindle Books & Tips — one of the ‘big three’ — which no doubt boosted its free run.

2.) Show no fear and you’ll go far

I spoke about the whole ‘aspiring author’ problem earlier this week. I think that sometimes, it’s natural to be a little afraid about doing such a major promo. Thousands of readers… maybe tens of thousands. Sounds great, right?

But what if I’ve made a mistake in my book? What if my cover isn’t good enough? What if…?

And before you know it, ‘Well I’ll just use this promo as a test run. Maybe it’ll do okay.’

And you end up with just a few hundred downloads, perhaps sinking to the lower regions of the Amazon charts as a result of limited exposure.

Every KDP Select free day should be treated as a major promotional opportunity. It should be seen as a way to boost sales and increase visibility. Sure — getting your book into the hands of hundreds is okay, but I’d bet only a few of them will read it, and even then you’ll have no chart exposure to help you push on.

Drop those fears. My last post pretty much covered everything in this respect. If your book ticks all these boxes, you’re good to go.

Which leads to my next point…

3.) The marketing doesn’t stop when the book moves from free to paid

Another problem authors appear to have with KDP Select is the lack of impact it has on post-free sales. Again, I disagree with this because What We Saw is selling at a better rate now than it has at any other stage this January.

Why do some people not sell any post-free while others flourish?

Again, it all comes down to promotion. I’d recommend putting aside £25-£50 for every KDP Free promo and invest it in promotional opportunities. I’m partaking in WLC’s ‘Social Media Mania’ package today to keep things going, as well as a couple of others. Choose your favourites and go from there.

4.) If a book isn’t performing in KDP Select, pull it from KDP Select

Sounds simple really, but if a book isn’t grabbing many downloads despite promotional efforts (I’m talking somewhere below 1,500-2,000ish), then pull it from KDP Select.

Edward Robertson describes promoting a hard sell as ‘pushing a boulder’, and I rather like this analogy myself. Silhouette, my sophomore short-story, never managed to pull in more than 1,000 downloads despite my best efforts, so instead of persevering with KDP Select, I made it available on Smashwords, Kobo, and other stores. It grabs the odd sale every now and then on Amazon, and will no doubt increase in popularity when I have more books out, but for now, I’m experimenting making it available everywhere.

I think I’ll pull Something in the Cellar from KDP Select next month too. Although I achieved around 5,000 downloads last time, topping the short story charts, I didn’t see enough of a post-free boost to warrant giving away so many copies. I think short stories in general have a hard time in Select, particularly with reviews (‘but it waz so short!’) so perhaps make them as widely available as you can. Maybe make one perma-free when you have a few books out.

Summary

We’re well into 2013 now, but how have my views on KDP Select changed since day one? Not a lot, really. For short stories, KDP Select probably isn’t worth it, unless you’re a seriously prolific short story writer. For novels, particularly newer authors (say, 3-6 novels available), I think it’s worth it. A free promo once every 90 days seems to be enough to give a book a temporary shot in the arm.

Keep writing more books and don’t worry about promotion too much, other than the sort I’ve described in this post. New releases = more popularity = more sales = more money = making a living off doing what you love: writing. That’s the ultimate goal, right?

Use KDP Select as a platform to start your journey towards that ultimate goal. There are few better platforms, that’s for sure.

This post now has a sequel. You can access it here

Where do you stand on KDP Select? Have you had any good or bad experiences that you would like to share?

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