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Free Kindle novels - worth it to the author? (1 Viewer)

WriterJohnB

WF Veterans
For any of you familiar with Amazon Kindle, they've got a new program, KDP Select, which requires you to allow them exclusive rights to your digital novel, in exchange for promotion advantages. I've signed up with two of my novels to see how it works and have set up a 3-day promotion with free kindle copies available, this Sat., Sun., and Mon. I'll come back after the promo to tell you how it all works out. If you're interested, here's the deal.

NECESSARY EVIL, a historical coming-of-age story set in World War 2. Tadtaotao, an orphaned native boy lives on the tiny, Japanese-held island of Tinian. When Americans invade, Tad doesn't take sides, indeed he doesn't trust either. His island home is devastated and then rebuilt as the largest airport in history. When a secretive new squadron arrives on the island, Tad notices a few things that put him onto the biggest secret of WW2.

THE PRISONERS OF GENDER, a spicy bawdy novel that has fun with the romance genre. A spell gone awry causes the princess and her captain to switch bodies. The captain is charged with defending her virginity but the princess, in her hormone-surging new body, wants to try out her new "equipment."

They went on promo at midnight and there've already been a couple of hundred downloads. What I'm trying to learn is: if I get a lot of "sales" during this promotion and my Amazon ranking goes up, will it cause increased sales? Will enough people enjoy the books and generate "word-of-mouth" sales. Here's the covers:

Final_Prisoners_cover.jpg BookCoverImage.jpg
 

KarlR

Senior Member
A difficult marketing choice to make, John. You're a brave man.
For the most part, consumers will value an object at exactly what they paid for it (sword edge #1). If however, nobody ever knows your name, how can you reasonably expect to ever sell a book (sword edge #2)?
Best of luck with your experiment, and please do let us know how it turns out.
 

Ditch

Senior Member
Please let us know how this works. It was recommended in a book that I read about marketing your work.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I have reservations about Kindle, that you can only download onto it from Amazon for a start, it is creating a monopoly. On the other hand you can't share your files, so the punters are not going to rip off the authors, you can't lend someone a book without lending your whole library. Having looked at both I think I would rather read on an i-pad unless I did a lot of travelling. Although the weight is a bit more they are so cool and do so much more too. The exclusive aspect seems like more of what I am starting to expect from Amazon, cut throat commercialism, these thing cut both ways as Karl points out.
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
I have reservations about Kindle, that you can only download onto it from Amazon for a start, it is creating a monopoly. On the other hand you can't share your files, so the punters are not going to rip off the authors, you can't lend someone a book without lending your whole library. Having looked at both I think I would rather read on an i-pad unless I did a lot of travelling. Although the weight is a bit more they are so cool and do so much more too. The exclusive aspect seems like more of what I am starting to expect from Amazon, cut throat commercialism, these thing cut both ways as Karl points out.

On the amazon page where you download the kindle file is a link to free reader apps for just about every platform, ipad included. It would really surprise me if the era of exclusive reader platforms lasts more than a couple minutes, it hasn't for any other medium. I sort of see the distribution of electronic book files going the way of music files, with the general run of creators franchising to something like a literary rhapsody for modest, steady income and the superstar generators gradually losing market share.
 

Rustgold

Senior Member
Simple question. Why do you have a 15th century style cover picture for a WW2 era book?

Well, I guess if it does well in spite of this obvious flaw, then there may be something to it.
 

WriterJohnB

WF Veterans
Simple question. Why do you have a 15th century style cover picture for a WW2 era book?

Well, I guess if it does well in spite of this obvious flaw, then there may be something to it.

Um, they had B-29 Bombers in the 15th century? The bawdy romance is set in a fictional past, in a day of knights, princesses and warriors. It was originally published by Eternal Press, but I have the rights to it now. I'm not an artist and I can't afford an artist, so I get my covers from public domain, as the bomber, or by purchasing rights of existing photos, as I did for the romance.

As of this morning, 32 hours into the program, there have been 589 downloads of Prisoners and 136 downloads of Necessary Evil.

Since I figure I'm never going to get rich from writing, anyway (I'm much more realistic, I'm planning to win the lottery), it's sort of nice to know so many people are reading my novels. Let's face it, 10 years ago I didn't know if ANYONE would ever be reading my stuff.

JohnB
 

Ditch

Senior Member
That's the idea John, to get your name out there. If they like your work, they will buy more. I want to offer my first novel free so perhaps people will want to read the next three. I also have two more in the works so if people start following the series, they will buy the next ones. I called amazon and was told I couldn't offer it for free unless I did something in particular, just have been too busy to get around to it. John Locke offered his first book for 99 cents and sold something like $126,000.00 in a month and is now a millionaire.
 

WriterJohnB

WF Veterans
Sorry, didn't realise it was two separate books, my bad :(

That's okay, I don't have a sanity certificate either. Maybe I should write a book like Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - B-29 Drops Atomic Bomb on Camelot. You might just have given me a bestseller.

Take care,

JohnB
 
B

Baron

I've looked at KDP Select and decided against it. I'm not happy about giving sole rights to my work, in any format, to Amazon. I also prefer to know that, as well as Amazon, my books are available on iTunes, Barnes and Noble and most other major online retailers. Even if my work wasn't selling I'd think twice about something like this because of the limitation placed by KDP's terms. The only way I might consider such an action is to follow Mark Preston's example and give work away from my own website, thereby keeping all publishing options open. As it stands, I've been able to generate sufficient interest, without a great deal of promotion.

All that said, I'm interested to see what results you get from this. In particular I'd be interested to see how it impacts your future sales.
 

Daesu

Senior Member
I've looked at KDP Select and decided against it. I'm not happy about giving sole rights to my work, in any format, to Amazon. I also prefer to know that, as well as Amazon, my books are available on iTunes, Barnes and Noble and most other major online retailers. Even if my work wasn't selling I'd think twice about something like this because of the limitation placed by KDP's terms. The only way I might consider such an action is to follow Mark Preston's example and give work away from my own website, thereby keeping all publishing options open. As it stands, I've been able to generate sufficient interest, without a great deal of promotion.

All that said, I'm interested to see what results you get from this. In particular I'd be interested to see how it impacts your future sales.
It does seem like if you can promote your book, then selling it from your own website would be the best idea. this is actually what i had in mind. But a question about the amazon thing, so once your three day promotion is up you can set the price at something besides free? Also, once you give amazon your rights, that means you can NEVER post it on any ebook website, or is it for a certain period of time?
 

WriterJohnB

WF Veterans
It does seem like if you can promote your book, then selling it from your own website would be the best idea. this is actually what i had in mind. But a question about the amazon thing, so once your three day promotion is up you can set the price at something besides free? Also, once you give amazon your rights, that means you can NEVER post it on any ebook website, or is it for a certain period of time?

Okay, but how do you draw enough visitors to your website to give away a sufficient quantity to start a buzz? I don't get much traffic because no one has ever heard of me. But, now that they've heard about me, I'm getting many more hits on my site. The deal on KDP select is that they have exclusive e-rights for 90 days. You can set your price (minimum 99 cents, which is where I set my prices, with 35% royalty) and you can put it up free for any 5 of those days, if you so choose. I tried the other option with other books, 70% royalty, minimum price 2.99 and have had few sales. So now I've got all my books at .99, except one at 1.49.

I read about a young lady who went this promotional route and sold 400,000 copies. She also sent her book to major reviewers, which I've done but no reviews done yet. It's my feeling that I'd rather have 35% of $400K than 70% of nearly nothing. So far, after 2 days, about 1,000 books have been downloaded. I got an email this morning from a reader (my address is in the books) saying he'd recommended the book to a friend, so that made me feel good.

Take care,

JohnB
 
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WriterJohnB

WF Veterans
Total downloads:

The Prisoners of Gender - 850
Necessary Evil - 218

Now I sit back and wait to see if it affects sales. I'll let you know when I've got more data.

JohnB
 

WriterJohnB

WF Veterans
First results are in. In the week before the give-away, no copies of Necessary Evil were bought, 2 copies of Prisoners of Gender. In the week following, 2 copies of Necessary Evil and 16 copies of Prisoners of Gender were sold. Still too early to make definite conclusions, but encouraging. And there's also the satisfaction that over a thousand people have now "heard" of me.

John
 

KevinB

Senior Member
If I may add to the thread with my experience at this. I had two novels that sold 1 or 2 copies a month. I did the "free" promotion for 5 days, and had more than 20,000 copies download for free. Since the free promo has ended, both books have sold more than 200 copies each during the first 6 days this month. I don't know if this will last, but in my case, it has worked for now.
 
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qwertyman

WF Veterans
Thanks for sharing this with us. How long ago did you write the books in question?

I ak this because having finished a novel after many months of toil and angst I couldn't counternace giving it away - However, I note the further I get from completion, the more 'detatched' I get and, all I really want is for people to read it.
 
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