Tag Archives: Amazon

Debating the merits of a pre-release on Amazon’s KDP

I am super stoked.  I have a new book coming out.

Here’s the cover.


When I first saw it, I said, “I would read the heck out of that!”



It is the sequel to Dolbin School for the Extraordinary.  It looks like I have another series on my hands.  So I considered setting it up for pre-release.

Pre-releases like the big boys

Amazon now allows pre-orders for indie writers.  At first glance that sounds like a great idea.  You can use a pre-order as a way to get more buzz and word of mouth about your book.  In some book stores such as Kobo and Apple pre-orders are all counted as sales on the day the book is released.  That can be very beneficial.  Even for books that don’t sell much.

Say for example you know that you can sell 20 copies of a book.  Yes. Just 20.  20 of your friends are willing to shell out 99 cents for you.  Now, you set-up a pre-release for your book and you set a time table of six weeks from pre-release to actual release.  All the purchases over that six weeks actually count as sells in one day.  The day of release.  That can really throw a book up the best-seller lists.  At least on Kobo and iTunes.

How Amazon does it

On Amazon though, they currently count each pre-order sale that day in terms of rankings.  So if you set a pre-sale and all your friends by the 20 books, not on one day, but over six weeks, in terms of rankings that will hurt.  Now 20 sales over six weeks, isn’t bad for a lot of indie-writers, BUT 20 sales in ONE DAY can be a big deal.  On Amazon that’s enough sales to throw a book onto several best-seller categories and therefore increase visibility.

In fact, when I did the pre-release with Baseball and Aliens back in September I let the book be released early.  For two reasons, one you can’t leave a review with a pre-order book and secondly there is no preview available for customers.  You essentially only sell the book to people who are going to buy the book anyway.

Pre-release to your own mailing list

So with that knowledge, I am changing plans and not setting up a pre-release sales page for my new book.  Here is my plan.

Send pre-release review copies to people who have joined my Street Team.  They will get the book early to read before it is on Amazon.  Then when the book is uploaded to Amazon. I will send out notice to my mailing list first.  Then the next day I will send out a notice on this blog and Facebook.   David Gaughran in recommends this approach in his book Let’s Get Visible of spreading out the announcement of a book.

By doing it this way I am hoping for two things.  All the people that are going to buy the book anyway will buy the book in a narrow 48 hour window.  Secondly, by sending out pre-release review copies I can get enough reviews to move the algorithms.  Amazon favors books that have more reviews.  So hopefully there will be enough sales in a short amount of time to move it up best-sellers lists and with reviews increase.

If you are interested in reading the book for free before it is release please join my Street Team.

If you have an experience with a pre-release please share in the comments.

Amazon helps children books authors with updates

I noticed last week when I uploaded a short story to Amazon that there was a new change in KDP for children’s writers.

Now Amazon allows you to add the grade level and age range for your book.  Before this needed to be down just in your blurb.

This change allows for people to find your work by searching for grade level or age range.

And as someone who writes for kids, this is all win.

Amazon wins again.

Oh yeah, here is the short story mentioned above. Which is level for 2nd through 5th graders, thank you very much.

Aliens. Baseball. 99 cents.

Aliens. Baseball. 99 cents.

Is Select Back? Kindle Countdown Promotions – yet another reason why Amazon continues to win.

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.


They pull me back in!

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.

Kindle Countdown Deal

A whole new category. A huge new level of visibility.


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.

The Basics

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.

Trying to leave Amazon again. We’ll see.

I hate not being diversified.  I hate it.  I diversify my life in many ways.  I own several different stocks, and types of stocks in my portfolio.  I make my income from several different sources.  I diversify where I make friends.  I diversify my interests and hobbies.  Diversifying your income is a key to thriving in the 21st century.  (Read this great post from James Altucher on diversifying your life.)


“They” always say don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Which is why I hate I don’t like being exclusive to Amazon on ebooks.

But when your other options are mediocre to terrible then, well, there you are.  I wrote about these terrible option before.

I have put my two first books up on Nook.  I was going to put my first book, Kevin and the Seven Lions, back up on Kobo.  But that was pointless.


The book was just in ‘delisted’ status on Kobo and when I tried to relist it the system got “stuck”.  Unfortunately I had experienced this before.  When I first put up Seven Lions it was in publishing status for several days.  Days.  And their support had no idea why.

No idea.

Kobo pic

Yeah. If you could get that out of “In Progress”. That would be great.

Then I reread the payment policy at Kobo.  They only pay you when you reach $100.  If you don’t reach that, then you only get paid once every 6 months.  I’m not there yet.  I like getting my $15-$35 monthly deposits from Amazon.  So this wouldn’t be a problem with someone who has a much broader audience than I currently have.  But having a broader audience doesn’t solve the problem of a system that gets books stuck in publishing.

I have put the two Kevin books back up on Nook.  And even that isn’t perfect.  They will pay you monthly with $10 thresholds.  But the uploading needs work.

I upload the Three-Headed Alien book’s epub and Nook doesn’t allow me to preview the book online.  Seriously?  I have no idea if the Nook formatted the book correctly, the only way to check it is to buy it.  I guess Barnes and Noble is that desperate for sales.  Authors must purchase their own work just to check it.  Nice.

I am not even trying Apple right now.  I feel no need to sacrifice an animal to get on ibookstore.

I have paperback versions of each of my books.  that has increased my income from books.  It has diversified who has purchased my work.  We all know people who are still “I don’t read ebooks!  I like paper!”  Great!  Here is my book on paper!

Three-Headed Alien Paperback-1

See. Book in actual paperback form.

I keep that in the back of my mind as I try selling my ebooks in other places other than Amazon.  If I go back to Amazon exclusively, people can still buy my books at Barnes and Noble and other places.

What do I get by staying with Amazon?

Right now I get borrows.  There is the key.  In August and September, payments from borrows were somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40% of my royalties.  But I had no borrows this first part of October, and the first of the month is when borrows typically happen, so I decided that it was a good time to not renew the exclusivity with Amazon.

So here I am again learning why Amazon is winning.  And winning big.  Because they deserve too.  They make things easy for authors and readers.  Good for them.

So if you’re new to my work, you can check out Kevin and the Seven Lions on Nook, and Kevin and the Three-Headed Alien on Nook, as well.

“They” always say don’t put all your eggs in one basket.   But when the other baskets have gaping holes, and velvet ropes around them, then I am not sure that advice holds, as I like my eggs safe.

If you have had different experience, please share in the comments section.

Left Amazon Select exclusivity and all I got was this blog post.

I experimented with selling Kevin and the Seven Lions, in the other stores by not renewing the exclusivity to Amazon.  I was hoping to set Kevin and the Seven Lions free and then have Amazon price match.  I learned though that Amazon doesn’t always price match, it’s up to them if they want to.  So that threw a wrench into my plans.

Uploading to the other stores was a big learning event, and I posted here about what I learned.

The argument against Amazon exclusivity is that you want to reach all readers, and you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket.  I whole heartily agree with that argument.  The problem is the real-world application of the idea.  And after learning what I did, I decided to bring both books back solely to Amazon.

But by staying in the Select program, the Amazon exclusivity part, here is what I get as a writer.  I get 5 days that I can control easily where I can promote a book by giving it away for free, hoping that Amazon price matches another store is unpredictable.  The usefulness of free is really another blog post.  But I would recommend “Free: The future of a radical price” in seeing how free works in improving sales.

Second, the book can also be borrowed from the Kindle Lending Library, which is like a separate store to itself, and a great way for a book to be discovered.  Plus I get paid whenever the book is borrowed under the Kindle Lending Library.  That’s a great deal, considering there is data supporting that people that borrow ebooks end up buying ebooks.  Shocking.

Sometimes I read that Amazon is a monopoly and is beating everyone with monopolistic tactics.  That’s incorrect.  Amazon is winning because their business model is infinitely better than everyone elses.  Not because they are doing illegal things.

So let’s go through this store by store, with my frustrations and some suggestions.

1. Nook

The positives here was that the book was made available fairly quickly, uploading was simple, and Barnes and Noble automatically paired it with the paperback version of the book.  Take note here on this Amazon.

The negatives three big ones.  First the Nook’s days are numbered.  Barnes and Noble just got out of the tablet business and I am still unsure of the future of the Nook.  Is Microsoft going to be making the Nook now?  I don’t know and that’s a problem.

Second, borderline non-existent support, I wrote about this earlier.  Their support for publishers is Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 9 PM New York time.  Seriously.  It’s like they’re not evening trying.  Best of luck if you work during that time or have a problem on the weekend.

Third unable to set to free.  It’s seems in order for a book to be free it needs to be price matched elsewhere.  That’s too clunky.


How about an exclusivity with Nook with 85% commission. Or I thought if I signed an exclusivity with Nook, a local Barnes and Noble would then stock three print copies of the book.  You would have my attention with that deal.

2. Kobo

I had high hopes here, but I think their Kobo Writing Life should still be considered in beta. It’s not ready for prime time.

I really like they’re smooth and quick way to upload a book.  But the problems begin there.  When I first uploaded the book you see a notice saying that it will take 24-72 hours for the book to be published.  72 hours really?  Unfortunately it took almost a week for my book to get published.  And the nice people customer support didn’t know why.  They had to go to their tech support to find out why.  As a side note, I appreciated that they admitted they didn’t know why it wasn’t working.  Amazon support could learn from this, as opposed to just reading a prepared statement back to me.

I had to reupload the book to get it into the store.  And the second time I did it I noticed a little note below the upload button that says “If your book takes longer than 72 hours email us.”  So, apparently this happens enough to warrant a note.  Not good.

I set the book to free and Kobo pretty much turned it free immediately.  Great!

Then I tried to find the book.  Short of typing “Kevin and the Seven Lions” into the search bar it could not be done.  Children and teenage books are listed together.  Great.

But the kicker was that Kobo does not track free downloads.  Let me state that again, Kobo DOES NOT TELL YOU IF YOUR FREE BOOK IS DOWNLOADED.  Ummm…what?!

As a side note there is a category of Indie Next List on Kobo.  Cool!  I thought here are the up and coming self-published people.  I click on the category and a $12 Neil Gaiman book appears at the top of the category, and all the other books in the top ten were over $10.  A $12 ebook does not belong in a category labeled Indies.


More categories are needed, WAY MORE, and more ways for books to be discovered.  Let people track free downloads.  Fix the upload system so book don’t take a week to be available.  Also come up with customer service forms, sending a general email for help doesn’t inspire confidence.

3.  Apple

I went to Apple through Draft2digital.  The book was declined because I linked to the paperback version of the book on Amazon in back matter of the book.  My bad.  Nook or Kobo didn’t care.  But that’s what makes Apple, Apple.

Oh yeah, I also can’t upload straight to Apple because I don’t own a Mac.  I know.  I’m not cool.  Consequently, I can’t set a book to free in the Apple store.   99 cents is the lowest Draft2digital will accept, no free runs accepted.

Apple is just Apple.

Side thought, when you can read Kindle, Nook, and Kobo books on iPads, why does anyone need to go through the ibookstore anyway?


Let me upload through a PC.  It won’t kill you.

4. Smashwords

I got as far as opening an account then I stopped.  When I read the ebook stating the formatting needed for a book I stopped reading and lost interest in Smashwords.


The website looks like it was designed on Geocities.  Seriously, fix that.

P.S. Dear Mark Coker, Heads up, Amazon isn’t your competition, Draft2digital is.

Final thought

Anyway, I am going to stay with the exclusivity program with Amazon for the time being.  It is easier to focus on one store, and when that one store is the biggest store in the world, well that’s not much of a problem for me.


I had written earlier in the year about staying with Amazon and those reasons still apply as well.

Branching out beyond Amazon, Learning why Amazon is winning, and Everyone else is second.

I have not been doing this publishing a long time, only since January.  I am brand spanking new in this world.  But I have been in it long enough to know that there is a big love/hate debate around Amazon.  There is big debate when it comes to the exclusivity aspect of the KDP Select program.  Before this goes any further though, I am going to clearly put my name in the I Love Amazon camp, though not necessarily select.   Without them this whole game doesn’t exist.

Now let’s move on.

Trying to broaden my horizons.

I have recently let the exclusivity on Kevin and the Seven Lions lapse, so I can put it up on Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.  Partially in hopes of letting the book go free a little more, and being able to give it away on my own site as well.  I am finding the 5 days of free promos isn’t enough.  And a lot of digital ink has been spilled over that.

Plus, I don’t want all my eggs in one basket.  I would like to have my work available in different places.

Now everything I’ve read says that it is harder to sell outside Amazon.  Okay fine.  This is more about learning, freeing up my work from the exclusivity of Amazon.

Now let me say THAT experience alone of putting the book onto those stores made my love for Amazon grow even more.  Why?  Amazon certainly isn’t perfect, but uploading to Amazon was infinitely easier, and the book went public quicker.

Let’s back up.

Why is it easier?  At least for me it was.  Everyone else is playing for a distant second, and it shows another reason why Amazon is dominating this game.

I created my first paperback in Adobe Indesign CS6.  That occured when I was finalizing the formatting for Kevin and the Seven Lions and I wanted the illustrations to bleed to the edge of the book.  Working with the Word template that I downloaded from the Createspace website, I had no earthly clue how to make the illustrations bleed.  The illustrations had a white border on the edge when formatted in Word.  I hated that look.  I wanted my picture book to look like the ones I read to my students in class, and most of those bleed to the edge of the paper.

The paperback was made and I was happy.  The Kindle version was an after thought for the first book.  But having made the paperback there is this wonderful button in Indesign, called “Export to Kindle.”  Right there next to Export.  Exporting to Kindle gets it’s own button for crying out loud.

Admittedly I didn’t use that button for Seven Lions.  I reformatted the book for an ereader, removing the text from the illustrations and putting the text separate from the illustrations.  Being new, that is where I used Word.  For the second book, Kevin and the Three-Headed Alien, it worked like a charm.  Formatted the book, table of contents and everything.  Clicked “Export to Kindle”, and there it was in Kindle format.  Working perfectly as I tested it on my Kindle Fire.  You’ll note there is no export to Nook, Kobo, ibook, that’s where it got more difficult.

The table of contents on my desktop Kindle previewer, just click and there it was properly formatted.

The table of contents on my desktop Kindle previewer, just click and there it was properly formatted.

EPUB Design

Designing the epub for Seven Lions turned out to be a lot more difficult than I could have imagined.  After all day of trial and error and reading various sites and watching videos, I finally got the Seven Lions epub to look the way I wanted in Adobe Digital Editions.

But let’s go through this experience store by store.


First store up was Nook.  Setting up an account was quick.  Uploading the book and cover image was easy, setting categories was easy.  You even get more categories than Amazon, good for them.  But here is where things fall apart.  After uploading the actual epub file, Nook does not preview the file.  It simply said “We were unable to upload your file into our editor, but you can still publish the original file you uploaded.”  Ummm…what?

And I say that because 24 hours earlier as a way to practice and double check the book I uploaded the original Word doc that I used at Amazon for Seven Lions.  In that case Nook did give me a preview of the book, and it was there that I realized I wanted to update the book to make it flow better.

But when I uploaded an epub no preview was available.  Why is that?  Same thing happens over at Kobo. And at Kobo I have to download the file, THAT I JUST UPLOADED 60 SECONDS EARLIER, just to double check it.  Seriously folks?  No online previewer?

So at first that was only complaint about Barnes and Noble.

But then again, I am an idiot.  Why exploring the site, I did something silly.

I clicked the wrong button.

Dear Lord in Heaven, do not click this button.

Dear Lord in Heaven, do not click this button.

Why doesn’t that button say “Unpublish Book” or “Delete book” or something like that?  While playing around with the price of the book, trying to make it free, and learning that Nook doesn’t do that, I changed the price to 99 cents to see how it would work.  While clicking around the site I clicked on “Take off Sale.”  Now after playing around trying to learn how make a book free, or change it’s price my tired brain thought “Hey!  That button will take it off sale and send it back to the original price.”

The button doesn’t do that.


Oh…it does that…my bad.

Anyway there is a button that says “Put book back on Sale.”

Great.  Problem solved.

I clicked the problem solving button, and…I get a big purple exclamation mark and the words “Opps…”

I was too confused to make a screen grab.  I may have passed out on the keyboard.  I don’t remember.

Literally something went wrong and all I got was “Opps…” (Funny, Barnes and Noble…funny…)

So I went to chat with a representative from Nook.

Here is the thing about Nook publishing support, they are only available from 9am-9pm Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday.  So you better hope you don’t have any publishing concerns that happen over the weekend, because you’re on your own there pal.

Monday through Friday.  For a grand total of 60 hours of available customer support.

So anyway I chatted with a nice person who called themselves Dante.  Click on the pic to see the end part of the chat.

Nook chat

I’ll sum it up. Dante had to forward it to someone more technical than him. Chat over.

I highlighted the last sentence for you.

Nook Chat 2

I can expect to receive a response in 24-48 hours.

I never got a response.

Zero response.

But here is what I did.

Since I no longer trusted Nook.  I just reloaded the book.  That was actually quicker than waiting for nonexistent support.

But then there were TWO copies of Seven Lions for sale in the Nook store.  TWO.  And no one from support had ever contacted me.  And the Nook system didn’t go “HEY!  You already published that book!”  It just let the duplicate book in.

Anyway so that was my Newbie Nook experience.  But seriously it’s like Nook isn’t even trying.  On a side note Ed Robertson wrote about the poor customer service some of the stores, including Amazon, were offering in 2012.


So let’s move on to Kobo.  First off let me say I love their lay out and uploading a book was quick and painless.  As I mentioned before they don’t have an online previewer for your book, but whatever.

Publishing to Kobo is a different matter.

I uploaded the book on the evening of July 8.  When you upload to Kobo you get a notice saying the book will be ready in 24-72 hours.  Okay.  Fine.  A bit longer than Nook or Amazon, but okay.

A week later and my book still isn’t published.

Kobo pic

So I looked to contact support after five days. (If this was fiction that would be called foreshadowing…)

All I could find was an email address.  No contact form.

An email address.  Hello 1996.

So I send a polite email, I even send the print isbn number.  But that wasn’t enough.  They couldn’t find my book because of the email address I sent request didn’t match the email on file.

I can’t make this up.

Here is the screen grab just to prove my point.

Silly me.

Silly me.

You see I use gmail to organize different email addresses, and I made the mistake of not telling Kobo which email my account was under.  Because, silly me, I thought my name, the name of the book, and the isbn number was enough.

So I send the correct email back, and then I get a response saying they will let me know when they get a response back from the tech support team.

I am emboldened with confidence.

[Update:  Still not published yet, but I will give Kobo points for trying to find out what is wrong.  Plus the support person I have been emailing me isn’t reading from a script giving me by-the-book answers, which is something Amazon needs to learn.]

[Update #2:  Finally got the book on Kobo, but only after I reuploaded the book.  And of course I never got any response from Kobo about why it took so long.  But currently the book is free on Kobo.  Click here to go and get it.]


Now on to Apple.  Let me say this first about Apple, I describe myself as an Apple agnostic.  I’ve enjoyed their products, I have an old ipod, but I never been a part of the Cult of Apple.  My skepticism began when I used to freelance edit wedding videos on a G4.  Occasionally Final Cut would feel bad and just stop working.  And if you know, when it stopped working it would just disappear.


No warning.  No “Hey things didn’t workout, something is wrong I need to reboot.”  Final Cut would just go away.  And this was during the time of their “It Just Works” campaign. I also used to work in a county that gave imacs to every teacher.  Let’s just say there was a phrase used by the tech people when something went wrong, “Oh, that’s the spinning beachball of death.”

Weren’t they just suppose to work?

So there’s my opinion.

Long story short, I don’t own a mac.

Ergo, I cannot upload directly to the iBookstore.

That’s just nonsense.

I looked into renting time from macincloud.com and see about getting to the iBookstore that way.

I went with Draft2Digital instead.  Online reviews seemed to make it better than Smashwords.  And I have to admit.  It was very easy to upload to Draft2digital.  Of course though after almost a week it was denied from Apple.  But Draft2digital told me WHY it was declined.  I’ve read from others that Smashwords may not even let you know why it was declined.

But here’s my thing about Apple and iPads.  You can read Kindle, Nook, and Kobo books on any Apple device.  So why even go to the trouble of getting into the iBookstore.  If you get into Amazon, any iPad user can still read your stuff.  Apple is making this difficult just to be difficult.

The Takeaway

So here is what I learned from this week.  Amazon isn’t winning the ebook revolution because they are monopolistic and mean.  They’re winning because NO ONE else is even playing the same game.  I don’t want Amazon to be the only game in town, but no one else is even coming close to even getting near Amazon.

I’ve read that Apple has a bigger piece of the ebook pie recently.  But so what?  The whole pie is getting bigger so Amazon’s slice is getting bigger.

When Nook doesn’t even offer support on the weekends, it seems they are on the way out.

When Kobo doesn’t have a form to fill out for support they are too small and new.

And well, Apple is Apple.

To make a sport analogy it’s like Amazon is the New York Yankees and everyone else is playing high school ball.  The other team doesn’t even belong on the same field.

Now I realize this is just MY experience, and I wanted to share.  But I am sure I am not the only one with similar experiences.  Share your experiences in the comments.

Staying exculsive with Amazon for the time being

I am new to this whole self publishing thing.  But I know few things seems to cause such debate as to the idea of staying exclusive with Amazon through their KDP select program.

For the time being I am keeping my work exclusive with Amazon.

Jeff and I have similar hairstyles.  Maybe that's why I am staying.

Jeff and I have similar hairstyles. Maybe that’s why I am staying.

Joe Konrath is going all in on KDP select.  But I don’t have his backlist.  Heck, I don’t have a backlist.

Here are the reasons why I am doing it:

1. It’s easy.  And I’m lazy.  Apparently I need a different file type to upload to the Nook.  I could set up a file with Smashwords and they could send my book everywhere but Amazon.  Two things with that.  One, they get a cut, and two they want me to upload in .doc format.  Word on the street is that Smashwords is very picking about the formatting of your file.  Formatting a paperback and Kindle book is enough trouble for me right now, thank you very much.  Sorry to my two Nook fans.  And don’t get me started on iTunes.  To upload to iTunes directly to iTunes I either need to buy a mac, or sacrifice a an iPod shuffle at Steve Jobs’ memorial.  Currently, I have no plans to do either.

2. I have GREATLY expanded my readership through Select.  I’ve done two different give aways of the first Kevin book.  Between the two giveaways the book has been downloaded over 7,000 times.  I consider that a success.  As a no name author my book is currently sitting in over 7,000 Kindles and devices with the Kindle plug-in.  And after each free promotion paid sales increased.  They increased a lot more and stayed selling longer the second time around this month in March.  Before January I had never published a book.  Now in March over 7,000 people have my book.  Thank you Amazon.

3. Kindle Lending Library.  Seriously, this thing is awesome.  People borrow my book for free on their Kindle, and then I get paid.  And in most cases, because the book is currently priced at $1.99, I get paid MORE for a borrow.  I even noticed that someone bought my book, then returned and borrowed it through the Kindle Lending Library.  Which means I get paid more for the borrow than for the sale.  Awesome.   That’s money I would not get if I left select.  And my borrows were a pretty high percentage in January and March, that I don’t see the borrows being made up by sales on a Nook.

Reasons to leave.

1.  People who own a Nook. I’ve had a few people tell they it on the Nook.  Seriously, I love all four of you very dearly, but this is a business decision.

2.  The ability to give away free copies on my website. This actually the main I was considering leaving select. Due to the exclusivity of Select I can’t give away copies on my site.  But then I did the obvious math. No way could I have given away 7,000 copies on this site.  Not even remotely enough traffic to reach that.  (I know. You’re shocked.)

3.  Just generally against exclusivity. When I tried my hand at stock photography years ago I never signed an exclusivity agreement because I liked having different sites. The problem is Amazon is so good at getting your book seen no other site even comes close.  See David Gaughran’s take on Amazon’s superior search engine. I have yet to read about a writer who had had more sales on Nook or Apple then kindle. If you are such a writer, please leave a note in the comments.

For those that don’t know exclusivity for Amazon is only 90 days.  So I may change my mind later this summer.  If I had several books available I probably would send a few books free from Amazon, but I don’t have that right now.  Leave your opinion about Select in the comments.

Book is currently cheaper as an autographed version

I’m a newbie at this publishing on Amazon thing.  At times Amazon baffles me.  When I set up the paperback I had to set a minimum price of somewhere a little above $10.  But then for over a month Amazon lowered the price to $7.62.  I had absolutely no control over that.  In fact I wasn’t even notified of the price change, I just saw it one day.  But the very cool part was that my commission was based on the retail suggested price, so it was a win for everyone.

And then whoops, it went back to $11.95.  So I lowered the price to $10.95, and I can’t offer it much cheaper than that on Amazon.  (46 page color books are expensive to make apparently.)  But based on the price I get from Createspace, I can offer the book even less and then sign it for you.

Shockingly I got C's in elementary school in handwriting.  I

Shockingly, I got C’s in elementary school in handwriting.

The trade off is I can’t offer Amazon free Prime shipping, and I have a busy day job.  So I can’t promise two shipping.  Pretty certain I can get to the post office on Saturday.

If you are just dying to have an autographed copy then by all means click on the pic below.

"Kevin and the Seven Lions"

Click on the book cover to purchase a signed copy of Kevin and the Seven Lions.

Are there any other writers noticing something similar?  Leave a comment if you are.

On another note, I will be writing soon about the new Kevin book coming soon.

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