I have tried twice to expand my horizons, leave KDP select, and sell in other stores, but I give up. No sales in Barnes and Noble, while Amazon continues to sell. Both times just when I thought I was out they pull me back in. (That last sentence is to be read in an Al Pacino voice.) Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple’s only approach seems to be, “Hey, we’re not Amazon.” Great.
Amazon has just unveiled its Countdown Deals Promotion, and to me it looks to be a winner. Here’s how it works, you set a discount for your book and Amazon puts it on sale. At the same time it puts in a whole category, a category for just these promotions, yet another way for customers to discover your books. And a category that is sitting on the front page of Amazon.
Why is this different?
Before I could set my own promotion, by republishing my book by resetting the price. And within the description I state the current promotion I am running. I recently ran a promotion where the book was lowered to 99 cents and that the book would go back to 2.99 after Halloween. But the book wasn’t put in a separate category or given special promotion, it was all on whether or not people found the book. When doing a promotion this people will now find the book much easier, the original digital price is still visible, and there is a countdown clock urging customers to hurry up and purchase. Wins all around.
Part of the original promotion for Select was the ability to set a book free for 5 days. That is still an option, but an author must now choose between the free days or promotion. Amazon has been throttling free books over the last several months, thus making Select less attractive. As authors know free books did not count in regular sales, but now these promotional sales are regular sales and can possibly help move a book back of best seller lists. Free books only work in the algorithm after the free promotion has gone off. I am going to assume that sales during the promotion will count immediately thus moving the book further up the best seller and popular lists. No need to wait two days to see the results of your promotion.
You also need to wait 30 days before your promotion begins after enrolling in KDP select. You cannot change your price, so in others set it and forget it. Other wise, you really don’t have a regular price.
You keep 70% royalties on your promotion if your regular price is between $2.99 and $9.99. So you can take a $2.99 book, promote it at 99 cents and get 70 cents as opposed to the 35 cents as it used to be.
Amazon really wants books to be priced in the $2.99 to $9.99. There is an ocean of data supporting that these prices are best.
The Other Stores
I don’t like only selling my ebooks through Amazon, but Amazon actually promotes my books. Putting them up at Barnes and Noble, and Kobo was like putting them on an infinite pile and hoped that someone would see them. At this point in my career, as I build my audience, I need Amazon to be promoting my books. That’s something Barnes and Noble, and Kobo didn’t seem up to.