Self Expression Magazine

About to Promote Your Amazon Kdp Select Free Days?

Posted on the 01 July 2013 by Michael Joseph

A new author’s personal experience.

When I self-published my mystery thriller A NEW DAWN RISING on Amazon Kindle recently, I satisfied a burning desire to write a novel and see it in some form of print. With the hard work done, I sat back and waited for the world to discover my literary masterpiece. But did Amazon customers flock to investigate? No, of course they didn’t, because nobody knew about it. I was a new author, the book was my first, and I had done little to publicise its release. Like so many other naive first-timers, I watched my pride and joy disappear into the murky depths of Amazon chart anonymity.

The count, two months later? A couple of sales and one review. No matter. I had achieved my original goal.

Then something began to niggle at me. The same incessant itch that had driven me to write and release the book in the first place. What might happen if I gave the book a chance? If I actually made some effort to advertise it? I decided to enrol it in Amazon’s KDP Select program and take advantage of their free promotion days. Why not? I had nothing to lose. Just choose some free dates, then let people know it was out there.

Now, this is where I had a problem, namely my aversion to social networking. Up to this point, I had never had an account with Facebook or Twitter. Such sites as LinkedIn or Google+ held no appeal. Those closest to me found my apathy to Facebook amusing. I remained unperturbed, disinterested. Only now, this left me with a dilemma.

General consensus indicated that being active on social media was essential for a new author hoping to sell books. On-line forums, tweeting, blog tours. Build a platform. Make friends. Get your work noticed. I decided to compromise. With gritted teeth, I opened a Facebook account. Then I chose three midweek days to make my book free and submitted it to every website and Facebook page offering free promotion. Satisfied I had made an effort this time, I awaited the results with interest.

On the first morning, the book gained a few downloads. As the afternoon wore on, the numbers rapidly picked up, and by the end of the first day A New Dawn Rising had been downloaded 2,000 times. I viewed these figures with a mixture of shock and delight. And so it continued the next day. By the end of day three, my book had 6,500 downloads. Now, I’m well aware those figures are nothing compared to what popular authors receive, and, of course, I wasn’t receiving anything in royalties, but I was just pleased thousands of people had a copy of the book in their possession. I was realistic enough to appreciate it would go unread by many for various reasons, but reaching the dizzy heights of No.8 in the UK free Kindle chart had given the book exposure I could only dream of.

The knock-on effect? Three days after the promotion ended, the book had sold over two hundred copies, been borrowed thirty odd times out of the Prime lending library, and garnered a couple of decent reviews. While those figures hardly constitute a success story, they were a marked improvement on the situation prior to enrolling in KDP Select.

Then the interest kicked up by the free days quickly died, and the book began to slide back into obscurity. It wasn’t rocket science. I’d gone back to my old ways, failing to interact on-line in order to keep interest up. If someone contacted me on Facebook to chat about my book, their book, or writing in general, I gladly talked to them. Otherwise, laziness reigned. I was prepared to graft at writing but nothing else, so I only had myself to blame and that’s fair enough. However, it got me thinking yet again. What if I’d fully embraced social media throughout this project? Would the download figures have been higher during the promotion? Would I have had better sales and more consistent interest in the book afterwards? I guess I’ll never know until I try. But if I do, these are the actions I will take:

Set up a Twitter account.

Use Facebook regularly.

Join Goodreads and engage in relevant groups.

Sign up for Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social networking sites.

Join book discussion forums, particularly those with an interest in the genre I write in.

Interact (not self-promote) on all of the above communities, taking time to make friends, debate issues and show interest in the work of fellow authors.

Read other author’s books with a view to swapping reviews.

Pay a small amount for book advertising.

Set up a mailing list.

Submit my book to review sites.

Start up a blog.

Engage with other bloggers and go on a blog tour.

Write and publish more work.

Obviously, I’ve started on the blog, and I’ve never stopped writing fiction, but as for the rest, well, let’s wait and see how bad the itch gets this time.

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