Thursday, 19 January 2012

How Can I Use KDP Select to Generate Sales of My Books?

The indie writer can now distribute ebooks through a lending library, where Prime Members can borrow your books for free on Amazon. Each ‘loan’ earns the writer a share in Amazon’s pot of money. But how can the writer make the most of Kindle’s lending library?

Exclusive Ebook Publishing Platform to Make Money from Home

Writers can earn a new source of royalties by enrolling with Amazon’s KDP Select, which works like a library, as customers who are Prime Members (Kindle owners who have paid a small annual fee to borrow books for free) can upload your book without paying for it. However, the writer still earns money from ebooks loaned, as the scheme works like the libraries’ Public Lending Right (or PLR). Every ebook borrowed, earns the writer a share of money from Amazon’s pot (KDP Select Fund). Writers can view the performance of their ebooks enrolled in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). And now an update, a new Amazon selling tool, the Kindle countdown deal (explained in a separate article.)

Books enrolled in KDP Select are still for sale in the normal way, as customers who are not Prime Members can still purchase it. However, depending upon the size of the pot and the total number of loans, the share per loan could earn the writer more than ordinary royalties. Prime Members can only borrow one book at a time, but there are no due dates, so he/she can take as long as needed to read your book.

Buying Ebooks for Free

KDP Select also has a range of marketing tools via the Promotions Manager tool, for writers wishing to promote their books to a wider audience. Each book that is in the Kindle’s Lending Library can be offered for free for up to 5 days per 90 days (to all customers, not just Prime Members), as well as inclusion in Kindle countdown deals. Note, however, giveaway days and countdown deals cannot be used within the same KDP Select period (lasting 90 days), only one or the other.

But how does giving your book away free help the indie writer make money? Before signing up for KDP Select, the writer needs to be made aware of a few things and also to use the scheme’s features to optimize sales and make more money from ebook sales.

When Not to Go for KDP Select

A clause in the KDP Select contract states that a book enrolled in the programme must not be available digitally anywhere else (and this includes Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Itunes, your own blog/website or any other similar ebook platform.) And once the writer enrolls, you cannot make your ebook available anywhere else but on Amazon. (This clause applies only to ebooks, not the hard copy) So think carefully before enrolling.

How to Make KDP Select Sell More Ebooks

If you have ebooks performing well on non-Amazon platforms such as Smashwords, then perhaps it might not be wise to go for KDP Select. Also, if you have books containing colour images, such as children’s picture books, art books or how-to books, for example, then think again before enrolling them onto KDP Select, as other readers, (such as the Nook) might display your content better. Although Kindle Fires have sold well, the majority of Kindle owners have the black and white variety, which will not display colour content. This is bound to affect the ratio of colour book sales between colour readers and non-colour readers.

How Selling your Ebook for Free can Make you Money

Unless you put your book on Smashwords for free and Amazon matches it, you cannot put your book for a lower price on Amazon than 99c. It is a clunky process that sometimes takes weeks to take effect. However, enrolling onto KDP Select means you can offer your book for free immediately on ‘free promo days,’ up to 5 per 90 days. Free books often means lots of downloads, lots of reads, more chances of customer reviews, recommendations and tweets.

Better Search Results of your Book

Bear in mind, that your book will also appear on other search results as offering it for free will include your book on sites alerting customers of free book offers. More reviews might come about as well as higher profile of your book across the web.

Putting your ebook for free might sound like madness at first, but if you have written episodic novels, offering the first one for free on promo days might generate sales of the sequel(s). Another advantage of selling your ebook free is if you have a particular book that does not perform very well, you could create a new readership. There is little to lose by offering the novel for free if it gets some downloads and reads. Having participated in free giveaways, have generated several customer reviews.

When to Sell Ebooks Exclusively on Amazon

KDP Select is might not be the best marketing strategy for every ebook, as once you opt into KDP Select, you cannot sell your ebook anywhere else on the Internet for the 90 day period. This might not be wise if the ebook(s) are selling well on other epublishing platforms. But offering your ebook for free on special promo days is a great way of generating a bucketload of downloads if this is desired, for instance, to generate customer reviews or sales of sequels. Furthermore, there is little to lose if the ebook has not performed well after every other marketing strategy at the writer’s disposal.

Tips for Marketing your Ebooks

How do I design my book cover for free?
What is the best price for my ebook?
Improving the first ten pages of your novel
Writing dialogue in fiction
Guide to Amazon's countdown deals

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