Posts Tagged ‘promotion’

You know what I love about being indie?  My world isn’t a cloistered cave of writing and talking to just my editor and/or agent.  My world is literally full of thousands of other indie authors that brighten up everyday for me with their generosity.


Okay, that bit of sentimentality aside, I’ve actually got a point here.  Let’s start with Kindle Direct Publishing Select.  When it started out, you could go free on your own and get thousands of downloads.  But, like anything else in this (insert expletive) world, there’s no free pass to success.  Honestly, some days I wish I would wake up with two things: (1) perfect vision, dammit, and (2) about 50 million dollars.  I digress.  So, no free pass to success.  What does that mean several months after KDPS started?  Going free and doing it solo–not so successful anymore.  And you’ve heard it from a whole bunch of people who continue to do the same thing and expect the same results.  Bottom line, those results ain’t there, so we’ve got to adapt.

What’s a way to deal with this?  Think like an indie my friend.  Going “solo free” (I’ll coin that term right here) is so freaking traditional author.  Going free with a group of great indie authors?  Now you’re thinking.

Let’s get one thing straight.  Going free as a group is nothing novel.  There are other groups that do free events.  However, there’s no way any one organization can provide all of your promo needs.  For one, it makes sense to diversify your advertising dollars.  For two (can you say “for two”?), if you have multiple books, then a single organization may not have enough free events for you.  That’s kinda where I was, which is why I did the following.

Through my publishing arm (haha, always wanted to say that.  My publishing arm are these two hands, and when I can get his lazy ass going, one of my dogs), I have organized eight of the most excellent indie authors I know to go free as a group.  Of course, I know more than eight excellent indie authors, but there will be more events.  The point?  We have worked our tails off to put this event together (another reason to pay the IBC their entry fee and sit back while their staff run the promo for you!)  We have canvassed the entire world of indie publishing and advertising, or so it seems.  The bigger point.  THERE’S NO WAY YOU COULD DO THIS AS A SOLO FREE.

This world of publishing changes so damn quickly, so who knows how long going free as a group will be successful.  However, we indie authors are the small tribe that can adapt to change on a dime.  Let the bureaucracy of the traditional publishing world die.  In the meantime, we’ll evolve, come together, and take advantage of whatever we can to sell more books.

With that being said, here are the awesome authors involved in the group event, appropriately titled #Reads4Free.  You, my dear indie authors, owe it to them to go download their free books.  Just as we will owe it to you when you go free.











Oh GOODNASS, don’t those books look sexy?  Check them out on the webpage we built.  Seriously, they look dead sexy there, and you can find out more info about what you’re downloading.  Click on any cover to be transported (the click comes with a drop of acid).  Or, just click on this hyperlink:!Reads4Free/cj6w

Over and out my friends.  If you’re interested in being part of an Indie Book Collective event, or another of my #Reads4Free events through Rogue Books, then just send me an email at


Is there a more prominent question to be asked and resolved right now for indie authors?  There certainly isn’t a more pressing time, as many of us are coming up on our first renewal window.  And, as that window approaches, I’m seeing more and more authors take a stance on this issue.  Question is, what areyou going to do?

In case you’re new to the game, or you’ve lived under a rock for the last three months, Kindle Direct Publishing is the means by which you can publish your ebook on Amazon.  About three months ago, KDP announced the select program, whereby an author could take advantage of a huge promotional tool in exchange for your ebook being listed exclusively on Amazon.  The huge promotional tool is the ability to list your book for free for five (5) days during your three month KDPS agreement with Amazon.  Going free, in and of itself, is just the first of a one-two punch.  The second punch is that your free downloads “transfer” over to your paid ranking when you come off of free.  Thus, you do not get any royalty credit for the free downloads (obviously), but you do get credit in terms of where you rank when your free period is over.  To be clear, this can be HUGE (which is why I put it in caps, okay?)


Let’s start with this–I have experienced and witnessed some amazing results in the KDPS program.  First, as to my own book Enemy in Blue, I have gone from being in the 20,000-30,000 ranking range to the 1,000-2,500 range.  That’s going from maybe a couple books sold a day to around 50.  Second, I was part of an Indie Book Collective event where one of the authors (Nina Bruhns, Catch Me If You Can) experienced an almost unimaginable jump.  Her book reached the top 10 in all free books, came out onto free and reached the top 30 in all of paid, and her backlog of books is now completely kicking ass.  She is selling tons of books.  Would that have happened without KDPS?  Maybe, but it certainly didn’t happen before KDPS.

If the results were a one-off, I’d let you know that and probably counsel against KDPS.  However, the results are not anomalies, which leads me to my conclusion that KDPS is the most significant marketing tool that we indie authors have at the moment.


I ended the last second with the caveat “at the moment” because things can change on a moment’s notice with Amazon.  From my own personal experience, I seemed to get a bigger “transfer” based upon the number of downloads in my first free giveaway than my second.  There are rumblings that Amazon is not giving as much credit for free downloads in KDPS now as they were at the beginning of the program.  Essentially, they are making it more difficult to climb the rankings based solely upon your downloads. This could make the value of the primary benefit of KDPS less attractive.

Adding to the changing landscape is saturation in our target markets.  This is purely speculation, but I think there’s an upper limit to what people are willing to throw onto their devices.  If they have 50 books that they have downloaded for free, are they really going to add the 51st, 52nd, etc.?  Even if they do, will they ever read them?  This also begs the question, are people going to become accustomed to getting books for free?  Will they still pay $2.99 for a book when they know that it may go free in the next several months?  Is that the world we (as indie authors) want to create…and do we have any say in it to begin with?

I think a very interesting indicator of where readers are headed is the report generated by Kindle Nation Daily with respect to the successes of their sponsors.  Here’s the link to the results:  If you take the time to analyze the results over the last few months compared to the last year, for instance, you’ll see two things.  First, many more authors listing their books for free and paying for advertising space to do so.  Second, the numerical jump in ranking for books that are free versus those that are paid is significantly different.  To me, this means that readers are becoming accustomed to free rather than paid.  (Now, this may largely be a result of the shift in who advertises on Kindle Nation Daily, i.e. more free books, but it is the only empirical data we have as to results from advertising).


Things can change on a dime.  Just look at what KDPS did to our world.  As things currently stand, it is a must to use the KDPS system as an indie author.  Nowhere else are you going to get 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000 downloads of your book.  Even if 1-2% of those people actually read the book, you’re still better off.  Further, no other distribution system (i.e. Apple, B&N, Smashwords) provides usany marketing tools of anysignificance.  Will all your ebook eggs be in one basket for 3 month periods?  Yes.  But, is there really only one basket that’s going to lift you to success as an indie author?  Eh, kinda.  At least right now.  I don’t see many authors gloating about how they sold 1,000,000 books on Smashwords or B&N.

In sum, I simply don’t think there’s a better way to expose your book right now, and I don’t think there’s a better way to climb the bestselling ranks.  Could that change in a year?  Sure.  Could that change in a month?  Absolutely.  Until it does, I’ve got to stick with KDPS.

Writing can be extremely solitary.  In fact, many authors would argue that solitude is a necessary part of the writing process.  However, there’s no doubt that once you exit the writing phase and enter the marketing/promotion/sales phase, solitude is the last thing you need.

Point in case?  A couple months back, I wrote a blog entitled, “How to Get your Book Downloaded 5,141 Times in Two Days.”  I thought that number was pretty damn snazzy, especially since I went it alone on those two KDP Select free days.  Fast forward the calendar to February 2, 3, 4, and I’m involved in a free event with the Indie Book Collective.  The mastermind behind the IBC is Carolyn McCray, author of several books including 30 Pieces of Silver.  (I almost called her a criminal mastermind, because her level of intelligence and insight is freakin’ criminal, but that’s another story).  She organized an event where approximately twenty-five authors cross-promoted, linked their arms together, and lifted each other to the tops of their respective genres.

My personal outcome?  12,600 books downloaded in just over two days (about 2.3 days).  The outcome of some of the other authors?  Nina Bruhns and Catch Me If You Can reached #1 out of ALL free books.  Ann Charles and her Deadwood  series had tens of thousands of downloads, and the series is now doing extremely well since coming off of free.  The moral of this story?  There is power in numbers, especially for indie authors.


Perhaps the most important thing for an author starting out on this journey is to link up with other authors.  Traditionally, I believe the writing group fulfilled this need.  At least for me, the writing group is nice, but not on a large enough scale.  I want to bounce ideas off of 50, 100, 500 authors, and social media is the best place to do that.  So, to become a part of the numbers, start with a few things.  First, join a group like the Indie Book Collective, which not only has an amazing core group of authors, but provides educational online classes and seminars to help you hone your marketing and promoting skills.  Second, go onto Goodreads and join a couple of the writing groups on there.  You can join liking and tagging groups, marketing for authors groups, etc.  I would suggest starting with two, as following more than that can get overwhelming.  Finally, once you get to know other authors, see if any of them will invite you to Facebook groups.  Right now, I’m in three that all serve different purposes, and that all include amazing authors.  (If you’re interested in being invited, send me a message).

A word of caution.  You will need to strike a balance between how many groups you get involved with, and how much time you are able to dedicate to your writing.  These groups can quickly suck several hours out of your day…hours you could have spent writing.  Another potential concern–joining multiple groups and not contributing to them is almost worse than not joining them at all.  Only join as many groups as you can contribute to on an every other day basis.  If you break this rule, I promise you’ll only stress yourself out, and possibly lower your credibility with the people in the groups.

In sum, can you do this writing and sales thing without really getting involved with other people?  Eh…you can, but you aren’t likely to have success.  Team up with people, truly help other people, and your success(es) will be amplified–I promise.