The Book Marketing Blogby Penny Sansevieri
June 30, 2015
If you haven’t heard the news yet, Amazon is making changes to Kindle Unlimited beginning July 1, 2015. They are going to be paying by page read for books that are in the Kindle Unlimited service. If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Unlimited this is Amazon’s “Netflix” service for books: you can rent books for a set fee per month.
If you’ve self-published and your book is in their KDP Select program you are automatically in the Kindle Unlimited system.
So let’s look at what Amazon is changing. Here is the information from their website:
“The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).”
A lot has been said about this, most of it not great. I do, however, think that for most of us in Kindle Unlimited, we should wait and see what happens before we dismiss the whole idea of having our books in a subscription service.
Why? Because if Amazon works the way that I suspect it will, the changes in the way they pay will also affect their Kindle Unlimited algorithms, pushing titles that are earning more to the forefront and those that aren’t, could potentially be lower on the list. This algorithm change could also affect their regular bookstore, too.
Let me explain my thought process here. First off, if you’re being paid by pages read then you need to have a good book, right? If your book isn’t good (and we know a lot of them aren’t) then you won’t make much. This is particularly interesting when you consider how many writers post poorly written books, or books so bloated with useless content, that the reader simply can’t get through it. Why do they do this? Well to game the royalty system, which never works by the way but ends up cluttering the Amazon site.
So what is prompting this change?
The problem Amazon faces is one we all face: there are many, many books and not all of them merit a sale. At one time or another we’ve probably all picked up a book, started reading and thought: Wow, this is not what I expected. And I’m not just talking about self-published books here. I’ve had the same thing happen with traditionally published titles. At the same time, it’s a trend we’re seeing more of. Let’s face it, competition is fierce and if you’re going to compete, you need to write a great book. This new way of pricing, in my view, helps to raise a bar that hasn’t been terribly high across the board.
Now this won’t affect your book if you aren’t in the Select or Kindle Unlimited system, but I suspect that if this works, Amazon could change this across the board. Meaning change this pricing structure for all of their books. Though I suspect that could be met with rioting Problem: one thing that I keep seeing over and over is that this model of payment encourages writers to write longer books. Many of you probably know the trend of “short is the new long” and while long books will never go away, episodic and serialization of books is a strong trend and one that isn’t going away anytime soon. So keep in mind that you shouldn’t write a long book unless the topic or story merits it. I plan on keeping my short books short. I personally won’t be making any changes to the content I produce. Why?
While these Amazon changes affect everyone in the Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited system, you won’t want to become a slave to this. You still want to produce content your reader wants, not just content that you think will bring you huge sales. Ideally, they are one and the same.
Keep in mind that many authors may be removing their titles which could be a great win for those of us who continue to keep our titles in the Kindle Unlimited system. Your exposure may increase significantly due to the drastic reduction in books.
Is there more that Amazon can do to fix the Kindle Unlimited system? Sure. I think making it non-exclusive is a great idea – mostly for self-published authors who are in their Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. Though Amazon is the biggest e-tailer, exclusivity scares off a lot of people who might otherwise list their books and the goal for Kindle Unlimited is to grow the library.
The other thing that I think Amazon needs to focus on is putting more Audible titles in there because right now the library of audio titles is narrow. Yes, this will certainly ding Audible memberships, but other bonuses can be given to Audible only members to retain that subscriber baseThe bottom line? If your book is in the Select program and the idea of being paid by number of pages read scares you, get in touch with Amazon immediately and ask them to remove the Select feature which will pull your book out of Kindle Unlimited.
As a final tip: you should do this anyway if you have more than one book in that system. Why? Having all of your books in Kindle Unlimited is not a good idea – regardless of how their pricing works. Why? Because you’ll generally get paid less for your book when it’s being loaned out to a reader so having all of your books in there could drastically reduce your revenue.
So that’s my take, I’d appreciate your feedback and insights.
June 30, 2015
In an age of the 24-hour news cycle, there is always breaking news. But what can you do if you’ve got something to say about a breaking news story? Take action! First, join the conversation, especially if the issue is on your topic or within your area of expertise. You’ll find discussion on social media, considerable television coverage and plenty of cable talk show debates. These ten steps are key to identifying your expertise, developing talking points, and being ready to get yourself out there when there’s a big news story. The next time you see a hot news story, start pitching. You just might end up being be the go-to source everyone quotes for that story!
June 28, 2015
Here’s a weekly wrap-up of some of Penny’s book marketing events, news, and fun finds!
- Promoting your book on a budget? Check out Bookbaby Blog’s 20 Thrifty Ways to Get Your Writing Out There.
- Only six months until Christmas! Don’t miss my tips on Getting a Head Start on Holiday Sales!
- Want to write a novel? Here are 6 bad reasons (and 6 good reasons!) to write one from Anne R. Allen.
- Now through July 6th – mystery ebook Killer Wedding Cake by Gayle Trent is only $0.99 on Amazon!
- These provide great inspiration for a Sunday morning: 12 Things that Will Give You Hope for the Future of Book Publishing.
- Are any authors out there looking for DIY options? Learn techniques to develop ebooks more successfully from Digital Book World
- I mean business! Find out my honest opinion about self-publishing here. Thanks to Ken Queen!
- Spice things up with this romance book Untouchable by Elizabeth SaFleur – only $2.99 until 7/3 on Amazon!
- Improve your Facebook marketing with Frances Caballos’s facts and tips.
- What happens when authors are paid every time someone turns a page? Amazon is about to find out. Learn more in this article from The Atlantic.
June 26, 2015
Most authors I work with do, at some point, have their eye on holiday sales. The problem is that they often start on this a bit too late.
You may have seen the “Christmas in July” ads and while these advertisements may seem a bit corny and perhaps a bit ill-timed they are anything but. In fact, if you want to get yourself and your book ready, there’s no better time than July to do just that. Why? Well, maybe no one is buying or thinking about December in July, but the holiday buying season is tough. In order to make any kind of headway you must start early, not just to capture the December sales but also to get in front of any early shoppers or just to get onto the radar screen of shoppers in general. Once those Christmas in July ads start to hit radio and TV, consumers often start to gather ideas for their own shopping lists.
So if July is an optimal time to start getting in front of holiday buyers, what’s the least optimal time? Well, November is definitely much too late, October is iffy, but if you’re staring September in the face and haven’t done a lick of marketing towards holiday sales, that might be your last chance. But if you can, it’s always better to start early – mid to late summer is always great. Here are some tips to help you kick up your efforts to get in front of holiday shoppers.
Events: If your goal is a December event, my suggestion is to start early. In fact you may want to start calling stores now to see what their plans are. Many stores don’t do in-store events after Thanksgiving, but if you have local connections or some independent stores they might be open to this. Speaking at non-bookstore venues falls under the same category: start early.
Promos: Any kind of holiday promotion needs to be planned out by Fall. I recommend starting the promo roll-out right after Thanksgiving and planning a succession of promotional announcements all the way through late December. This gives you p
lenty of time if you plan to do special eBook bundles, price promotions or ads.
Website: If your website isn’t ready for the holidays or if you’re not sure, then now is the time to run through your checklist and get any changes to a web person early. As you begin planning your promos make sure your web designer is ready to go to make any changes your site might need.
Targets: One of the biggest challenges authors face is finding their target audience. If you don’t have a good, solid idea of who you’re marketing to yet you shouldn’t use your holiday campaign to test it. You should use the time between summer and fall to test it. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t waste a holiday promo if you don’t have to. Knowing who you are going after will save you in costly marketing mistakes (and this goes for any time you are marketing).
eBooks: With all the eBook readers that have flooded the market and all of the new ones that’ll be unwrapped during Christmas, you may want to consider timing eBook promotions to coincide with after-Christmas sales so new readers can grab your book. Also if you’ve been holding off getting an eBook version of your book created – or perhaps doing an eBook bundle, now
might be a great time.
Social media: Not doing much on social media yet? Well now might be a good time to kick it up a notch. Consider specials or promos that you may want to offer to your followers – or maybe now is a good time to focus on building followers. At the same time, if you haven’t explored Facebook ads you may want to do that now so you’re ready to go with your holiday promo.
Discoverability: Often called “the big D” discoverability is a challenge many authors face. If you haven’t done a lot in terms of pitching, now may be the time to do that. Contacting blogs for reviews, excerpts, interviews or doing guest blogs … all of these things are great ways to gain exposure online. Remember, it’s not just about the holiday promos, it’s about making sure you are found online. That way, if someone searches on what you’re offering, you’ll come up in the search results. This will help you capture holiday shoppers who haven’t been exposed to you or your message yet.
The key to successful holiday promotion is planning and enough advanced marketing so that you’re not spinning your wheels in the Fall wondering why you’re not making any traction. If you’re ready to explode your holiday market, start early; it’s the best way to make sure you have a spot waiting for you when the busiest shopping season of the year comes around
June 24, 2015
If you’re wondering why your Facebook posts or Blog posts aren’t attracting enough attention maybe your headline needs to be stronger? If you need some headline help, head on over to the Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule.
You can also download their “power words” cheat sheet, which is really helpful for creating great headlines!
June 23, 2015
Did you see Penny’s latest article on PR Newswire? Don’t miss her tips on how to help you manage social media!
June 21, 2015
Here’s a weekly wrap-up of some of Penny’s book marketing events, news, and fun finds!
Happy Father’s Day!
- Looking for balance on social media? Check out my recent PR Toolkit post on 8 ways to manage your efforts.
- Support fellow writers with reviews from The Writing Life. Thanks to Terry Whalin for mentioning me!
- Free ebook until 6/24 only on Amazon! Mystery thriller by Nick Chiarkas: Weepers.
- 7 Ways to Be Insanely Creative on Demand from Write to Done. I especially love number 7!
- Missed out on going to BookExpo 2015? Don’t worry, Digital Book World has all the highlights here!
- Struggling with how to promote and still have time to write a book? Check out this great advice from Nina Amir.
- 14 Ways to Crash Your Book Launch – Authors: DO NOT Try This at Home from The Book Designer!
- 24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing from Buzzfeed. I especially love No. 24!
- Going to a networking event? Here are 7 things you need to do before, during & after the event!
- Publishing industry assumptions revealed and answered from Books & Such.
- What do I & 17 other book marketing experts say are the secrets to selling more books? Find out here from Writing Spirit!
June 19, 2015
Happy Father’s Day!
In honor of Father’s Day (this Sunday, June 21st – don’t forget!), check out this article: “The Top Ten Father Figures in Literature: Great Reads for Father’s Day!”
June 17, 2015
- Inspire: Do you have a fun, inspirational message you could share with your followers? People love inspiration and the video doesn’t have to be long. In fact just one quick tip or idea to get folks going could be 1 minute or less!
- Educate: Think Twitter for video. Drop one, short, impactful tip for your followers. You could do a series of these!
- Entertain: For a lot of the children’s book authors we work with this could be a lot of fun – even speakers or anyone who is used to being in front of a crowd or performing. Have fun with this. And if you’re a fiction author and have a book trailer, why not share that, too?
- Be Thankful: This sort of speaks for itself, right? Thanks your followers for reviews, or for being great supporters or maybe just for following you.
- Behind the Scenes: How fun would it be to see the inner workings of your fav place or person? Your followers feel the same way? Maybe you could invite them into a brainstorm meeting or book signing or something else that gives a glimpse of what it’s like to do what you do!
- FAQs: This is a fantastic resource for this too, especially if you’re in an industry that is complex. In a sense publishing is that way. There is a lot of information out there, much of it confusing. How fun would it be to have a set of FAQ’s about either the work you do or the industry you’re in?
June 16, 2015