Goodreads. Facebook. Bing. Twitter. Countless websites that have varying degrees of dedication to indie authors. All of these are options for your precious advertising dollars. And, all of them can be money pits. Over the course of the next few months, I’m going to try to relay to you which ones work, which ones don’t, and why they have worked or not for me. The first one on the list is Kindle Nation Daily (“KND”).
KND seems to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, website dedicated solely to books on the Kindle. They have over 48,000 likes/followers on Facebook, and state the following with respect to their traffic:
“One way or another, we connect with over 84,200 readers every day.
In the past 30 days there have been 158,200 unique visits to our website, totaling over 349,800 page views. Over the past three months Kindle Nation Daily’s website traffic places it among the top 40,400 websites in the world, and among the top 8,200 websites in the U.S.
48,200 of you connect with us through Facebook, 26,700 though our email newsletter, and 2,025 through Twitter. Between eInk Kindle subscribers and subscribers to our free Kindle Fire app, over 9,100 of you are subscribers to the Kindle edition of our blog.
In the past 30 days you have visited 646,000 Amazon pages and purchased over 14,500 Amazon items directly from our website — and that’s just the paid items.”
Those are some big numbers. That’s why I decided to take out an “Option A,” Special Sponsored Post with Facebook Triple Play (SSP-TP) advertisement with them.
When I say “them,” I am really referring to Stephen Windwalker, the founder/CEO and “chief bottle washer” at KND. He was my primary contact, and from a customer service perspective, he was very good. He responded relatively timely to emails (would give him an A-/B+ there, but I know he is inundated with correspondence). From a customer accommodation standpoint, I give him an A+ for two reasons. First, when I purchased the SSP-TP package, KND sent me three days when my ad would run. I wanted to change those days a bit due to another event I was in, and Steve was happy to make that change. Second, there was an issue with my ad not running on one of my days. I emailed Steve about this and he immediately took ownership, and extended me the benefit of three more days of advertising due to the error. THAT, my friends, is excellent customer service.
Another aspect of KND which I found to be of superior quality is the sponsorship tracking data provided on their website. Steve has provided the results of advertisements taken out by authors for approximately the last year in a handy spreadsheet (click here to see). That level of transparency is ridiculous, and almost unheard of. You can take those results and do two things. First, see what authors are using KND, and what their results are. You’ll find that top selling indie authors such as Richard Bard use KND. Second, look at the results, and the corresponding pricing during the events, to calculate what type of advertising may work best for you. This is much better than the Google Adwords trial and error money pit.
For my advertisement, I priced my book at $0.99. That decision was based on several factors, including the fact that my book would be part of a $0.99 single day event during the ad, Steve’s own recommendation, and my gut. I made the $179.99 cost of the ad back and then some. In full disclosure, I don’t think the advertisement was wildly profitable from a purely monetary perspective. But, you know that profit isn’t everything, especially early in a career (or, you SHOULD know that).
Perhaps one concern I have with KND is that with the mix of free Kindle books they advertise, do those advertisements cannibalize purchases of paid books? I saw one comment from a reader on KND’s Facebook page, and she essentially wrote, “Thank you KND for these great free Kindle books. Since I bought my Kindle, I haven’t had to pay for a single book I’ve read.” Yowch. I’m sensitive to the fact that readers may start expecting their Kindle books to be free, and wonder how much of KND’s target market expects that as well. Promotion of increased prices would be ideal. However, I’m certainly not going to blame KND entirely or even in large part for what may be attributed to market forces. It is something to watch, and I’m not sure you would have much success advertising on KND at price points above $2.99.
In short, I was very happy with KND’s customer service, very happy with the data available to me before I paid a chunk of money to advertise, and content with the results. Enemy in Blue has held onto a low 1,000s rank since the KND ad (and the Indie Book Collective event referenced in my last post), and is now a top 10 seller in Legal Thrillers on Amazon. Will I use KND again? Absolutely–I intend to with my second book, the release of which is imminent!