Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twitter Me This

Tweet Less, Write More

Want to sell your indie published books? Don't rely on social media. Why?
[+] Most people in my Twitter network are writers as well. They write. They want me to buy their books. I want them to buy mine. It ain't gonna happen.
[+] Recent studies prove it. Only 12% of readers find new books via social media. Almost 50% rely on personal recommendations. Word. Of. Mouth.
[+] People who have one book for sale aren't going to generate long term interest. Read KKR's recent blog about this. Write more books, don't market the heck out of the one dinkydink you think is all that.

That being said. There's this thing, this behemoth, this tsunami that is changing the marketing game for many indie publishers, of which I am one. And I'm looking into it. It's Amazon's KDP (Kindle) Select. Three main features are drawing writers to this program.

1) Writer's agree to a 90 day non-compete. That is, Amazon has exclusive rights to sell your ebook for a 90 day renewable time frame. If you're enrolled in KDP Select, you can't have your book up at B&N or Smashwords, for example. Amazon evidently believes that an exclusive outlet with them can give your book value. How? See #2 & #3.

2) Writer's in KDP Select can loan their books and receive a part of the monetary pie generated by the Prime Membership Program. This is a buyer's program that, for $79/year, offers discounts, free shipping, special deals, streaming of movies and TV shows, and access to Kindle's Lending Library. Writers, whose books are borrowed, get a cut of the profit from this program.

3) Writer's receive 5 promotional days in which they can make their ebook available...get this...for free! This is called a value to the writer. Follow the logic here, though. When your book goes on "sale" as a free ebook on Amazon, it's number of downloads usually bump up quite a bit. This generates interest and possibly reviews (although I've found that people who search for hand outs rarely appreciate it and will likely complain that the free book was a waste of their time...grrr). Then, when your ebook goes back on sale (you know, for money) its ranking has improved and thus people may see it more frequently in their search, etc. You get the idea, they figure if it's so popular, it must be good and they buy it. So in short, free days produce downloads which leads to higher rankings which lead to exposure and potentially more sales.

Based on these benefits, a number of writers are testing the KDP Select waters and weighing in with their results. Let me go eat some chili (hey, it's a cook off at church!) and I'll be back with some links to some writers who are struggling and some who are succeeding in this new venture of promoting their book via Amazon. Plus I'll share some reservations to this whole concept.

In the mean time, twitter me this. What's your take on using social media in general to "generate sales" and your thoughts on KDP Select (if you've used it) in particular?

UPDATE: Okay, I'm back and here are some writers who have tried KDP Select and have an opinion.

[+] Sarah Woodbury
[+] Patrice Fitzgerald
[+] Kim Aleksander (part 1 and part 2)
[+] Stephen T. Harper (UPDATED LINK), author of King's X
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