Kindle Unlimited Offers Readers Smorgasbord Of Ebooks; Authors Fret

There is a lot of worry and hand-wringing over on the Amazon Kindle Digital Publishing’s Community Forum pages the past few days, after Amazon rolled out “Kindle Unlimited.”  For $9.99 a month, readers get a Netflix-like subscription to ebooks, and once they read 10% of those books, authors get a share of the Amazon fund (like KDP Select). Up until now, payouts have hovered between $1.80 and $2.50 for borrows; no one knows what the payouts will be for KU.

Here’s what indie authors are saying about it: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=198609&tstart=0 (You probably need to be logged into your Amazon KDP account to read it…)

But I think it’s worth giving this new service a go with my latest book: “How To Make Easy Cash With Old Magazines: Make Money Finding, Listing & Selling Used and Vintage Magazines In Your Spare Time!” I’ll use it as an experiment. It launched early June, and since then has sold only a handful of books (1 of the orders turned into a return…). It’s got decent reviews, and it dovetails nicely with my original book on selling used books online; my hope is that readers of this title will be curious to learn more (and order) that book… which I’ve prominently promoted on the end-of-book pages of “Easy Cash.”

Day after I signed up for the 90-day exclusive with KDP & KU (you get ’em both when you sign up), I noticed a different layout on that book’s sales page. Here is a screenshot with my circles noting the promo of KU:

Ebook-Kindle-Unlimited-Screenshot

This test will run through October. I’ll report on the results as time goes along, to share my experience and my thoughts if KU gives self-published authors a new way to promote their Kindle books online, or if it represents a threat to author income in the long run.

August Report:

On Aug. 14th I viewed KU borrow revenue at approx. $1.80 each, far ahead of what I was expecting. I figure Amazon knew it needed to sweeten the pot and boost the royalties authors received to give this program a chance to build momentum. I estimate September reports will show a slightly lower payment per download; I’ll guess $1.40-$1.50 each.

September Report:

Yep. The KU revenue dropped to $1.54 per borrow, just a smidge above where I guessed it would land. The funny thing for me, though, is that even this falling per-borrow income is adding on nicely to my monthly royalties. In fact, I took the plunge and added my ebook on selling used books online, and the borrows have outpaced sales. I went ahead and boost the selling price to $3.99. I had about the same number of sales, but a higher margin. Interestingly, the ebook also saw sales increase in the UK Kindle Store, which Amazon just announced would also be featuring the KU Unlimited program this month.

The September KU per-borrow rate may rise, or it may fall from $1.54. I’d predict that Amazon would once more add money to the fund to help maintain a rate closer to $1.80 – $2.00, if for no other reason than to keep author’s ebooks in the KDP Select Program through the busy 4th Quarter. The two books I have in the program will earn me enough extra cash to keep me happy they are available in Kindle Unlimited. For now.

Amazon is now boasting that the Kindle Unlimited program features 700,000 Kindle books subscribers can read for free. Within a few months I believe the program will either be branded a complete success or belittled as a complete failure. Time will tell.

October 2014 update: It’s almost the end of October now, and I’ve noticed a slowdown of KU borrows. The September KU royalty stayed constant at $1.52 for U.S. ebook borrows, while the newly-launched UK KU (yes, KU has landed in the U.K., and it makes a delicious — although not very profitable addition to my income stream yet –palindrom) earns but $1.27 per borrow. Some authors are complaining that the KU borrows are lowering their sales revenue; this seems to be happening to my income, also. However, it seems that it all comes out right in the wash, as total revenue has stayed constant. Those complaining authors are likely taking their titles out of KU when their current 90-day exclusivity agreements expire. Will this bode well for the future of KU? Still, the answer remains: time will tell.

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Posted by Admin - July 20, 2014 at 8:20 am

Categories: Kindle Books, News   Tags:

6 Simple Tips On Promoting Your Fiction Titles

Excellent tips on how to get more eyeballs reading your fiction. Promotion is an ongoing part of being a self-published writer. These simple tips are a good reminder on the right ways you can promote your fiction and sell more books: https://www.facebook.com/SellMoreKindleBooks



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Posted by Admin - July 11, 2014 at 4:36 am

Categories: Book Promotion Ideas, Kindle Books, Paperback Books   Tags:

How To Get Others To Promote Your Kindle Book, Land More Book Reviews

After you’ve written you book, you’ve got to get exposure for it. You need reviews. You need word-of-mouth buzz. You need advertising. Here’s a place to start finding ways you can do it all. For free.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/03/03/have-others-promote-your-book-how-to-get-reviews/

Great article written by Jim Devitt. Read and bookmark this 2012 blog post for regular reference. Good info that is still helpful when you want to improve your sales rank and boost royalty checks.

 

 

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Posted by Admin - June 29, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Categories: Book Promotion Ideas, Kindle Books, Writing Advice   Tags:

Free List: Promotional Websites To Promote Your New Kindle Book

Good resource for Kindle Book authors:

http://www.slideshare.net/amydebcreations/secret-promotional-sites-that-promote-your-kindle-book

Created as a SlideShare post by AmyDebCreations.com, detailing very good ways to sell more books, get more exposure and increase pool of readers who will help share news about your published ebooks and paperbacks. Highly recommended.

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Posted by Admin - June 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

Categories: Book Promotion Ideas, Kindle Books, Recommended Tools & Websites, Writing Advice   Tags:

From Blank Index Card To Published Article In 24 Hours

 

Repurposing and reusing your own content is easy. Let me show you how easy it can be.

KDP-Self-Publishing-CvrThe other day I listened to a teleseminar on the subject. It made me wonder: “Would it be worth the time and trouble to create my own MP3 audio training report that could provide added-value for readers of my book?”

I scratched a few notes onto a blank 3″ x 5″ index card, then jotted down a few more ideas on the back.

I quickly drafted and recorded a 10-minute MP3 lesson on a subject from a book I published back in 2012, showing readers how to start their own home-based bookstore online. Here is the book I wrote about:

sellusedbooksonline

 

But the lesson was about how to write your book for different audiences. I’d realized after I’d published this book that I was missing out on sales because I’d overlooked including information to at least three audiences.  This experiment in offering updated information on my blog didn’t take long to produce.  The recording was a one-time take. I didn’t edit it, and I spoke off the cuff, referring to my double-sided index card during the recording.

I made the recording using a cheap telephone headset, utlizing recording software that came free with my laptop (found in Programs>Accessories>Sound Recording), and free WMA-to-MP3 software I downloaded from Cnet.com.  (Note: Anything you record onto the laptop goes direct to WMA, Windows Media Audio. I had to convert it afterwards to MP3 so it would be easier to share online.)

After I’d uploaded the MP3 to my blog, I grabbed the index card and was ready to toss it into the trash… when I wondered: “Can I do something else with this?”

I thought I could.

Then, I did.

I jotted down “Post article to EzineArticles” as a reminder. I’ve had a lot of success over the past few years with the free article content I’ve published through EzineArticles.com.

But, instead of procrastinating until the mood had faded and the urgency had been lost forever, I logged onto my EA member site later that afternoon and started writing. Their writing and editing interface is really good. You can write as you brainstorm and the publishing page saves what you’ve written as a draft while you type. I jumped around: Thought up a title based on keywords I wanted to target. A short 3-sentence introduction. Then I dropped down to keywords. Then even further down to my Author Resource box. Only then did I start writing.

What did I write about?

I wrote from what I’d jotted down on that little index card.

I looked at the few words I’d scrawled to remind me what to make my audio recording about, and then I started typing as the words flowed. When the words stopped flowing, I looked back at the index card, read the next couple words, and started typing again.

As I typed, a scenario that I used in sales calls 10+ years ago popped into my mind.

I wrote it down.

20140520_122711

I turned the index card over and was reminded of three solutions to the problem I was explaining to my reader.

I wrote all three down.

I summed up the article. Fixed the two hyperlinks EzineArticles gives writers as payment in kind vs. a cash payout, then started editing.

It took all of 30 minutes.

But I didn’t publish it right away. I logged out. Let the idea stew in my mind all night, then into the next morning.

By late morning, I spotted that worn index card and remembered to log back into EA, do a final edit, and click on the ‘Publish’ button.

I logged out and figured I’d hear if the article was accepted in 2-3 days.

Let me tell you, I was surprised to get an email within the hour that my article had been accepted, was published, I had the link ready to share with anyone who wanted to read it (here is the article), and a message that my article would be added to their homepage within 24 hours.

I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. I clicked through to the article: There was my smiling face; my article; my author resource links to my chosen landing page.

Done. Finished. Ready-made content.

All from a tiny little index card and a wild idea.

You can do this too. You can have a stack of these small cards sitting right next to your laptop or desktop computer, or in your pocket or purse. You can sketch out an idea you want to share with somebody, then record it, transcribe it or rework it into an article, and you’ll have all this at your fingertips:

1. An MP3 for sharing your idea (here is the MP3 lesson I created and repurposed into the EA article).
2. An article published for free far and wide — and likely to rank well for a few days on search engines.
3. Content for your blog, website, or social media platform.
4. ‘Lessons Learned’ content that you can share with readers, followers, potential propsects… and this is what you’re reading now — my lessons learned.
5. If you have your RSS feed from your blog linked into your Author Central page, a smidgen of your article post will show on that page too.
6. Once you have your article posted on one of your blogs or websites (hey, it’s my article, I’ll post it online for extra mileage myself!), then you have a new landing page to send people after a quick post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — any place you are posted with hopes of being followed.

And that’s that. I didn’t post this to brag, I didn’t post this to try to get a cheap link to my published books and hope to make a fast buck (although I’m not above being cheap, nor hoping to make an extra sale here and there!)

No, I posted this to share how easy and simple this process was. It wasn’t even a process. It was simply an index card that turned into a published article in less than 24 hours. It’s free and easy to duplicate. Try it. You might be happily surprised of what turns up!

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Posted by Admin - May 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Categories: Book Promotion Ideas, Kindle Books, Recommended Tools & Websites, Writing Advice   Tags:

Free MP3: “Writing To More Than One Audience At A Time”

My experience in writing for multiple audiences has helped me make my Kindle books more appealing to diverse markets. Here’s a free MP3 recording on why I think it’s important for every writer to expand their audience by writing to more than one audience at a time:

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Posted by Admin - May 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

Categories: Kindle Books   Tags:

Parlay What You’ve Written Into Books You Must Write & Publish … Soon

To parlay means to use or develop one more more things, to get something else that has greater value. This is the technique all of us must use to introduce new Kindle books to the reading public. When you find your audience, your hungry market, then it is up to you to write more ebooks to satisfy them. But you don’t need to start from scratch. Reach back to the research you did for a previous non-fiction book to deliver a related, but different, book to readers.

The advantage of this is (1) you leverage past research, (2) you know what sells, and (3) you write, edit and publish much faster. Your books start selling quicker. You make money sooner.

From now on, promise yourself to rummage through the work you’ve already done to fine more work to do. Never through away your notes, your research files, the reference books you dug up, the copied-and-pasted notes on your laptop computer.

I have always liked to call this “re-purposing’ content. But the word ‘parlay’ carries more of a gambling tone, as it should: self-publishing is indeed a gamble. You must play the game. You must be willing to do all the hard work and still face down and overcome failure. You must roll the dice and discover a way to write faster, better, and finish sooner.

That’s my tip for today…. parlay what you’ve written into something new you must write soon.

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Posted by Admin - May 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Categories: Kindle Books   Tags:

Promoting Your E-Book Inside Your Paperback Description

I don’t make many paperback sales through my CreateSpace page; almost all the paperbacks I sell come through the Amazon sales channel. But I still keep that book description updated, because if someone does indeed buy my book there, I wind up making an extra buck or two.

I noticed recently that my CreateSpace sales page often ranks higher in search engines than my Amazon Marketplace sales page.

So, this set me to wondering:  “Could I use a small part of my CreateSpace description to also cross-promote my Kindle book and drive more e-book sales that way?”

Turns out, the answers is ‘No’… and… ‘Sort of.’

I contacted the CreateSpace customer support and posed this question to them.

Here is their reply:

Hello Steve,

Thank you for contacting CreateSpace with your support inquiry about linking other URLs in the Description.

CreateSpace doesn’t allow using URL links in the description section on our website or eStore. You can reference your other products and even put the ASIN or Identification information to make a search easier but not the actual links.

So, I had the information I needed to copy-and-paste my ASIN from my Kindle book sales page, into my CreateSpace book description. I planted it right at the end, where a prospect might be getting to the point of making a Go/No-Go decision on whether or not to click the “Buy” button. In any event, I learned something new to share with you.

Let me know what your experience has been when dealing with the CreateSpace customer support team, and also if you think it’s a good idea for me to be promoting my e-book from inside my paperback description.

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Posted by Admin - May 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Categories: Kindle Books, Paperback Books   Tags:

Adding Bonus Audio Files To Help Readers

I am experimenting with uploading free MP3 audio files to my blog to help readers get more out of my Kindle books.

sellusedbooksonline

Here, I’ve uploaded a 13-minute MP3 file on the subject of sourcing used books for resale, the topic of my book, “How To Make Easy Money Selling Your Old Used Books on Amazon.”  I made the file with a cheap pair of headphones plugged into my laptop, and recorded the message by clicking on the free the Recording Option from my computer’s ‘Accessories’ folder from the Start Menu (I use a Windows 7 laptop).

I then downloaded a free WMA to MP3 software and it converted quickly (about 5 minutes) from the Windows Media file to an MP3 file that I’ve uploaded. You can click on the player below to access this recording:

 

It didn’t take long to do this recording. No editing was done. The recording, converting, and uploading to this page took all of 30 minutes. I’ll be able to see if this type of ‘value-added’ information will help my readers, and if so, I can offer additional features and services in future Kindle books I publish.

The sweet part about adding this to a WordPress blog is that when you insert the MP3 by clicking on the button titled “Add Media,” the WP software automatically loads the audio player right into the post (the long black audio player bar you see right below the thumbnail of my book cover) and this makes is very simple to create a new post in seconds.

One idea you might want to try is to run a much larger image of your book or photos showing the process of the tips you are sharing. One other idea might be to inserting ‘photo rotating’ code into your page to show the process you are speaking about. Bulleting ‘tips’ will also give the person listening to your message something to look at on the page.

Finally, it would be a good idea for me to add a “What’s Next?” button, where I offer a free download or a link to another page, another book or video I have for sale, or a way for the viewer to opt-in to a membership site, a mailing list, or sign up for an ecourse.

The sky is the limit! Let me know what your ideas are for this.

 

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Posted by Admin - May 14, 2014 at 11:04 am

Categories: Book Promotion Ideas, Writing Advice   Tags:

How Important Is Your Kindle Book Title?

So just how important is the title of your Kindle book?

Very important.

I’ve always believed titles can make or break a book or ebook.

And now I found validation from a blog I just discovered.

Here’s what they had to say:

“People will buy a book on Amazon for 4 basic reasons: the title, the cover, the reviews and the table of contents. Make sure your pick the correct title.”

I was right all along. By their count, a good title accounts for one in four — 25% — of the push book buyers need to click on the “Buy” button.

I would add in another important consideration: the book description. This is where you can tell the reasons YOUR book is THE book they should purchase. I’d recommend inserting your table of contents (one of their essential items in the purchase cycle) right into the book description, including which page each chapter lands on; this helps your potential reader calculate how many pages you’ve devoted to different subjects. If each chapter is only 3 pages long, this isn’t something you should try to hide by keeping the table of contents secret. If each chapter is only 3 pages long, you need to re-write your manuscript and include more pages.

Still, the simple trick they share below is an easy way to brainstorm a good title in short order.

This advice came from a 2-year-old post at http://bloggingyourpassion.com

They published a very helpful guide as a free PDF on their website, to help self-published authors have a system to generate quality book titles. You can grab a copy of that guide here:

http://bloggingyourpassion.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/KindleBookTitleBrainstorm.pdf

Take a few minutes to download their guide, read it, and use their tips to produce a better book title for your next Kindle book.

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Posted by Admin - May 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

Categories: Kindle Books   Tags:

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