December is here, and I’m kicking off the holiday season with a steal of a deal: The Girl from Oto Kindle version is just 99 cents all weekend long! Download it here. Last time I did a promotion I sold 120 books in a weekend…will I break my record? The odds are good. Why’s that? Because I paid more for promotions this time.
99 cent promotions (really, any promotions!) are key to sales
Last time I did a .99 cent Kindle Countdown Deal, I paid about $80 for promotions and sold 120 books. This time, I’ve paid $126 for a total of six promotions. The total number of eyes on my promotion will be far greater than last time, so hopefully sales will be far higher. These are the promotion sites I used: Ereader News Today, EBookSoda, The Ereader Cafe, Discount Book Man, Awesome Gang, and Book Reader Magazine. I found these promotion sites through other authors and through this article on paid book promotions.
I also tried to get a BookBub (the Holy Grail of book promotions) and was rejected. Applying for a BookBub is a lot like applying to Harvard or Stanford, so I didn’t take the rejection personally. Also, BookBub doesn’t like books that are only available at one online store. The Girl from Oto is currently only available digitally as a Kindle version on Amazon, because I’ve put it in their “exclusive” category for the past year and a half. In three weeks, however, I’m going wide.
Exclusive vs. wide
There are lots of indie authors who swear by exclusivity with Amazon. I’ve heard it’s best to stay exclusive until you have several books in your backlist. And so far I’ve been following that advice. Supposedly you get higher rankings within Amazon’s all-powerful algorithm when you’re exclusive. You also get the opportunity to earn money for every page read through the Kindle Unlimited and Lending Library program. And you can run Kindle Countdown Deals like the promotion I’m doing this weekend.
Going wide is putting your e-book on other retailers’ sites. So my book will soon be available on iBooks, Kobo, and other sites. Some authors say this helps their sales. Some say it weakens their Amazon rank by diluting sales. I’m ready to try it.
Why go wide?
One reason is that the main advantage to being exclusive with Amazon is the extra income you can get from “page reads” through their Kindle Unlimited and Lending Library programs. My pages-read earnings are modest (and Amazon keeps reducing the amount of payment per page read). If I’m wide and selling books on other platforms, I may earn more with those royalties than I do with page reads. I won’t know until I try it. I can always put the book back into “exclusive” mode with Amazon.
Another reason I’m pulling the book is that it’s currently my only book. When a book is exclusive on Amazon, you’re not allowed to sell it or even give it away to anyone. So if I want to do a joint promotion with other authors wherein we give away free copies of our books, I’m stuck. I can only give away free print books. And if I’m sending them overseas, that gets really spendy.
A third reason I’m going wide is that I’ve never felt comfortable with giving just one retailer so much control over my book. Amazon can and does change its rules all the time, which sometimes benefits authors and sometimes doesn’t. For instance, rule-following indie authors can get caught up in Amazon’s system of rooting out scammers. When Amazon sees a book suddenly get a spike in downloads (which happens with free book promotions in particular and can be caused by click farms or bots that unscrupulous authors use to boost sales rank), the algorithm flags it as suspicious. Sometimes the company arbitrarily shuts down a legitimate author’s page and terminates their account without warning when this happens. It can take a long time and a lot of stress to get Amazon to reinstate the account. See this great article by David Gaughran for more details.
So for now, this is my last Kindle Countdown Deal with Amazon (these promotions are only available for books that fall into the “exclusive” category). I’m looking forward to mixing things up! And I’ll report back on my experience with going wide.