Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Not renewing KDP Select

In mid-March Dark Doses finishes its first 90 days being offered exclusively via Amazon's KDP Select program. The results have been less than spectacular. Thus I won't be renewing it and will release the book to other venues like Smashwords.

I think KDP Select can be useful, particularly for authors who have a portfolio of books and they want to set aside 1 or 2 as magnets to draw readers to the others. Here's an example. Say you have a 5-novel series for sale. You could enroll just the first one in KDP Select as a way to hook and draw readers to the rest of them. Or you could write 2 or 3 short stories or novelettes as tie-ins and put those shorter works into KDP Select while keeping the novels out.

Beyond that, I'm not seeing much value for the everyday author.

The 'borrow' feature for Amazon Prime customers, while interesting sounding, seems to me to work best for books more in high demand. Not many folks would want to burn their limited borrowing opportunities on lower profile or unknown books. So the bonus bucks Amazon credits to KDP Select authors for borrows is fairly constrained, though Amazon likes to make noise about the monthly budgets allocated to borrows.

Finally a thought on the 'make available for free' feature. There are beaucoup processes and web tools now that enable Kindle owners to soak up the tidal waves of KDP Select freebies. It's a slick arrangement for Kindle owners. Without risk or outlay, you can grab 100 stories in a day, scan the first 3 pages of each, and discard all but the top 3 that you feel are worth reading start-to-finish. By the end of a week, you've crunched 700 books down to 21 that are locked into your To-Be-Read list... all without spending a dime. You can literally keep that up until your Kindle cries: "Uncle!"

What does the KDP Select author have to look forward to in this? A shot at discovery. Perhaps a Like or a meaningful review. If you're fortunate, your book just might catch-on via chatter in social media circles or from a high-traffic blogger's comments. But I would not recommend holding your breath for any of that.

I don't regret the experiment. It was worth a shot. When the 800-pound gorilla gives you a way to rearrange the bananas, you have to see if you just scored a banana bonanza out of the deal. In the case of KDP Select... not so much.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Soar Free is now live on the Kindle store

To Soar Free is a short story of about 7,000 words. It originally appeared in The Lorelei Signal back in 2010. You can still find it there along with a number of delightful stories that emphasize female protagonists and feminine themes.

I have to give two shout outs regarding the work that went into making To Soar Free available as an e-book.

Firstly, this is the second time I've published an e-book under the guidance and tutelage of Paul Salvette. Paul's web site has numerous helpful articles that aid an author with the whole production effort required for a well-polished e-book. Browse his articles for in-depth, step-by-step instructions or, better yet, buy Paul's guide book that brings it all together. Available for Kindle, on B&N and on Smashwords.

Secondly, the delightful, intriguing cover art for To Soar Free was crafted by Robin Nuttall. This is the second cover she's made for me and I really enjoy working with her. You can find out more about her services and view samples of her work on her web site. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Time to release another e-book

So far I've e-published one short story and a collection of short stories as different e-books. It's time for a new addition. I'm going to publish a second short story as a standalone e-book, which will make two from the collection available for readers to try out solo.

Why bother with this?


Besides needing a name (brand), presence (web site, blog, facebook page, twitter account, etc.), push (marketing, promotions) and pulls (reviews, likes, links), an author needs product.

Well duh, you say. The more you have to sell, the greater the chance you will sell.

Very true.

But besides giving current fans more of your goodies to enjoy, having a larger number of released books provides more ways for potential fans to discover you. Each book is like a beacon, drawing wayward readers in to check it out. When they find one, they find them all. This provides more temptations to consider, which might help make the difference when a reader is unsure about a newly discovered author.

Plus I can use the standalone short stories not just as lures but also as promotions for Dark Doses, my short story collection. For instance, I can give away the standalone stories more frequently than the whole collection. This matters particularly now because I'm thinking about dropping Dark Doses out of KDP Select. But that will be another post for the future.

Funny thing, publishing. It starts with words and it pretty much ends with numbers.