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99 cents for The Girl from Oto—this weekend only!

Kindle fans, check this out

The Girl from Oto Kindle version is normally priced at $4.99, but from February 17-20, it’s available for just 99 cents. Click here to download this fantastic deal, because it won’t last long.

Twitter graphic to promote my smokin’ hot deal

So what is the deal?

Authors enrolled in the Kindle Select program with Amazon are entitled to offer one “Kindle Countdown Deal” per 90-day enrollment period in the program. Here are the full details of the program as specified by Amazon. Why would an author choose to discount their book’s price this steeply? For several reasons:

  • Increased sales means increased discovery of your book. My top goal right now is to get the word out about my book. People are much more likely to take a chance on a bargain book than shell out full price for a book by someone they’ve never heard of.
  • Better rankings in the Amazon sales algorithm. The higher your book is pushed in the Kindle store, the more visibility it gets. The coveted yellow “best seller” symbol is what all Indie authors aim for when they launch a price promotion. (This is by no means easy to get, by the way. You have to sell a LOT of books to achieve it, far more than I did with my previous countdown deal in December. I sold about 70 books over a two-day period that time.)
  • More reviews. All indie authors struggle to get reviews, and Amazon sales depend on them. The more people who read your book, the more reviews you’ll get. It’s a simple formula.
  • More subscribers to your email list. With a link to your website or landing page in the back of your ebook, you can build the all-important mailing list that every indie author needs to grow a platform. A mailing list allows you to develop relationships with readers, offer freebies and news, and keep people posted on your next books. I use Nick Stephenson’s marketing plan for authors, which lays out a step-by-step process for setting up this system. I have a tiny list at the moment and I’m only just about to begin communicating with the folks on my list. You can sign up for my list here. No spam, I promise!

Getting the word out

Promotion is the way to go when you’re running a kindle countdown deal. Last time, Fussy Librarian was a great paid promo for me, and I also used Reading Deals (it was free). In addition, I ran a Facebook ad. This time I’m using Fussy Librarian again plus a handful of others, some free and some paid. I’m also running another Facebook ad. I’ll write another post after the dust settles to talk about the promo sites I used. I’ll be focusing more heavily on promoting my book in Canada and the UK this time, because I would love to introduce my book to readers in those countries. For instance, I heard that @BookPugUK will retweet any book deal, so I’ll be trying that.

Social media

I’ll also be using Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to promote the deal. I recently got a Hootsuite account and am about to fire that up so that I can schedule social media posts in advance.

Regarding Twitter (@wilaroney), I have about 1350 followers. Though lots of authors swear by Twitter, I’m still ambivalent about it. I don’t pay for followers and I don’t follow back people whose bios consist of self-promotion and “retweet me!” entreaties. I try to share interesting and useful content that I find helpful. I probably should spend more time retweeting and direct messaging people, but I don’t. Hashtags are the way to go on Twitter. My feed tends to get clogged with promotional tweets and the best way to find useful content is to hashtag topics I care about.

I’ve even started hashtagging outside the Twittersphere. Last weekend I was out with friends on the first sunny day in ages. We took a selfie and I blurted out #filterover40 (How about some faux-17th century lighting for middle-aged folks taking selfies?), and in the next breath heard myself say #joyisthebestlipstick. I know, good! Feel free to claim these hashtags as your own. Yep, just one of the ways I provide value to my readers.

Last week I started an author Instagram account (amymaroneywrites) and I have a grand total of…12 followers! Woo hoo! Since I plan to grow the account organically, I’m sure it will take as long as my Twitter account has to cross the 1,000-follower threshold. But I’m OK with that. I like the platform better than Twitter. More images, fewer words (mostly hashtags), and if there are trolls in author Instagramland I’ve yet to encounter them.

To round out my social media empire, I also started an author Pinterest account (amymaroneyauthor) with—let me check—whoa…zero followers! Who wants to be the first? Good times over there on Pinterest, I promise. I have an “Inspirations” board with images of the places, people and artwork that inspired The Girl from Oto.

Why not free?

A lot of authors use free giveaways of books to boost awareness, get subscribers for their email lists, get reviews etc. This is particularly useful if you have several books in a series. You give away the first, then the reader craves the next one and buys it. I only have one book (another on the way), so for me giving it away isn’t useful to drive sales. Also, a lot of authors say that people who download free books often don’t even like your genre—they just want something that’s free. Often they never read it or if they do they leave a bad review. If someone who only likes horror reads my book, I imagine it would be disappointing. I do not want to disappoint people and get bad reviews. So for now, 99 cents is as low as I’ll go for a discount promotion.

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