Monday, 14 January 2013

My Recent Experience With KDP Select

I recently did a 5 day KDP select promotion for my paranormal suspense novella Colton Manor and it was successful beyond my wildest dreams, at least by my standards (which are nothing compared with some author's out there I realise). I've never been one to blow my own horn before, but.... toot toot!

With my previous promotions I got less than 1000 downloads on average per book, which I still think is great, but this time I got 8000 downloads and my book went to number 2 on the paranormal list in the US. I also reached 52 in the free kindle list which was a huge thrill. I have absolutely no idea what the difference was this time and why it shot to the top of the list. I advertised in exactly the same places and really did nothing different. Before it went free I don't think I'd sold a single copy outside of family and friends. Maybe it was the genre, or the cover or I just got lucky with the timing. Who knows, but I'm very grateful that so many people decided to take a chance on my book.

I really wasn't expecting much with this book because it was something I started for an anthology and never completed in time. I just wanted to get it finished and didn't have the same investment in it as I've had with other books, although I do think the storyline is unique and interesting. I thought I would probably sell a few copies here and there if I was lucky. I didn't even proofread it as well as I normally would and this has come up in some of the reviews (I've since remedied this). I've had some good feedback and some not so good but that's okay, it all comes with the territory. I also have reason to believe I've picked up a troll/cyber-stalker, but cest la vie, karma will take care of them. Actually I think it already has (Sorry!!).

This whole experience just goes to show that you never really know what is going to take off. I've found that it's generally the books you put the most effort into that get the least attention. I'm realistic and know Colton Manor will probably just fade back into oblivion soon, but it was really nice to see my book up there almost in the number one position for a few brief, shining moments. I'll always have my screen-shots to remind me.

I'd love to share some wisdom about how to crack the top one hundred in free books but I really believe it was just a fluke.

The only advice I can give is:

1. Make sure your cover is eye-catching. I really love the cover for Colton Manor and this could have had a lot to do with the number of downloads. Unless you are good at graphic design get a professional to do it for you. There are many sites that sell premade covers for next to nothing. My cover cost just $25!

2. Write a blurb that makes people curious. Put a few teasers in there to make people want to download the book to find out more. I put in a cryptic line about Shakespeare right at the end that was meant to arouse interest.

3. I've found that using the 5 days for KDP select in one hit usually gets the best results. I schedule mine from Wednesday to Sunday as it gives you a chance to pick up momentum before the weekend, when downloads/sales spike.

4. Make sure you have tagged your book correctly in KDP direct to ensure it appears in the right listing. This is vital for reaching the right target audience.

5. Advertise. There are so many places that advertise free kindle books for nothing, you just have to give them a bit of advance notice. Author's marketing club has a free kindle book submission tool which is really handy.

After you've done all this cross your fingers and hope for the best. There are no guarantees in this game and I figure that if even just a few people or a few dozen people decide to download your book then you've achieved something by reaching some new readers. Good luck!

Colton Manor is available on Amazon for 0.99 cents.

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