Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Pros and Cons of Joining Kindle Countdown Deals: Book Merchandizing Tips

A book promoting tool, Amazon’s Countdown Deals is an extra way of getting your book discovered on Amazon. Not only will you be able to earn bigger royalties on your book for a smaller selling price, but also have your book included on a high viewing webpage.

What is Kindle Countdown Deals?

How to do Countdown Deal with Amazon
Simply put, countdown deals is a selling tool authors can use to control the discount price of books for a given period of time. But how can the writer use Kindle’s countdown deals to promote books?

Well, let’s start from the beginning. Firstly, you have to have an account with KDP Amazon self publishing platform, with kindle books listed. Secondly, you have to be enrolled with KDP Select. Explained in more detail in another article, KDP Select is an Amazon selling tool for authors to increase discoverability of books on Kindle. Your book can be borrowed by customers who are enrolled within the Amazon Prime membership program to gain access to the Kindle Owners Lending Library. For a membership fee, readers can borrow up to 12 kindle books a year for free, whilst the author still earns a royalty for borrows.

The author can also run promotions of their book for up to five days per ninety, where books can be given away for free on given days. This might sound like madness, but book giveaway days can generate sales. Bear in mind that either a Kindle Countdown deal or free giveaways are permitted per KDP Select period (lasting 90 days). Not both. More about free book giveaways in another article.

The Downside of KDP Select

There are pros and cons to enrolling with KDP Select. Running promos and being included on Amazon Prime can hugely increase discoverability of the kindle book, generating sales and book reviews. However, each book enrolled in KDP Select must be exclusively available on Amazon, not Smashwords, Google Play, Kobo, Apple or even your own website or blog. (I have published one of my novels on a blog, and am informed by Amazon that I can leave 10% of my novel up, whilst I am enrolled in KDP Select.) This does not affect the paperback version of your book, such as that published on Createspace or Lulu.

Countdown Deals on Kindle to get Your Book Discovered

Once your book has been enrolled on KDP Select and it is not on sale on other platforms, you can create a countdown deal for your book. You have to make sure:

You haven’t changed the book price for 30 days.
Your book hasn't had any free giveaway days in that 90 day period.
Once enrolled in a countdown deal, the price cannot be changed for 14 days after the countdown deal has ended. Similarly, the countdown deal must end 14 days before the KDP Select period has expired.
The price of your book must be at least £1.93 in the UK and $2.99 in the US.
You own the copyright of the book.

What to Watch out for on Amazon’s Countdown Deals: Currency Conversion Rates

Watch out for conversion rates of US dollars to GBP pounds, as they fluctuate daily. When setting the price of your book on KDP Amazon, uncheck the tick on the UK pricing box that says ‘automatically set the price of the book with US dollars’ and manually set the price for above £1.93.

If the price of the book is just above this threshold, the strength of the pound could shift downwards, causing it to dip below £1.93 even when the price of the book was above this threshold when you had set the price on US dollars. If this happens, your book will become ineligible to be included in the Countdown Deals. So, be sure to uncheck the UK pricing box and fix the price above the threshold manually.

Merchandising your Book Tips: Example of a Countdown Deal

Once everything is in order, you can enroll your book into the countdown deal program. Only one countdown deal is permitted per KDP Select period (lasting 90 days) so use this book selling opportunity wisely. The time period of the countdown deal can last is from 1 hour to 7 days, and the book’s price can be managed in 99c increments over this period as set by the author.

The book’s countdown deal will also show up on the book’s product page on Amazon.

Let’s see an example of how a countdown deal works. Say you had set the price of your book to $3.99 for at least 30 days. It is in KDP Select and the book is exclusively available on Amazon.

You have chosen the countdown deal to run for 6 days. The first 3 days, the book’s price is 99c. On the book’s product page, a graphic will show up next to the book (see screenshot) showing the countdown deal price of the book and a countdown to when the book’s price either increases, or goes back to its normal price.

After 3 days have elapsed, the book’s price increases (as set by the author) to $1.99. Again, a countdown clock will be displayed showing the time period of the countdown promo.

Once the remaining 3 days have elapsed, the book’s price goes back to its normal amount and will no longer show up on Amazon’s countdown promo webpage.

Advantage of Pricing Book Countdown Deals

Bear in mind, is that whilst the book is enrolled on KDP’s Countdown Deal, royalties earned per upload will remain 70% even when the price has been reduced to below the $2.99 threshold (as authors normally earn 35% royalties on books priced below $2.99). Whilst in KDP Select, your book will also earn you 70% royalties from Japan, Brazil, Mexico and India (which otherwise earn 35% royalties). Having said this, I seldom sell book in these countries anyway.

Simple Guide to Kindle Countdown Deals

Enrolling your book onto Amazon’s countdown deal sounds a little complicated. A thirty-day wait and patience is needed. Once your book has been enrolled onto KDP Select and the price has not changed for 30 days (priced above $2.99/£1.93) your book can be included within the countdown deals. Only one countdown deal promo is permitted per KDP Select 90 day period.

The promo can run from 1 hour to 7 days. Once the price and time period has been set, a graphic will show up on your book’s product page and your Kindle book will be included on Amazon’s dedicated kindle countdown kindle book list. Search results of your book will be enhanced and extra sales generated.

The author has to jump through hoops with this book marketing tool, but could be worth the trouble.

Basic guide to using KDP Select

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