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Posts Tagged ‘KDP Select’

Sometimes a Quickie is all You Can Manage

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Life’s been a little busy, a little hectic, and even a little challenging lately. Doesn’t mean the world stops to wait, it means I’ve got to run faster. Unfortunately, that’s also meant my blog postings have suffered. But here I am trying to fight back and get a little something out there. It’s nothing major, just a head’s up for anybody interested that today and today only Vitalis, New Beginnings, is free on Amazon. Yeah, and the day’s half over, what kind of a prick am I to not mention it until now? Sorry…

Vitalis Book 1 - New Beginnings by Jason Halstead

Vitalis - New Beginnings, on Amazon

 Vitalis – New Beginnings on Amazon

 Vitalis – New Beginnings on Amazon UK

The good news is that there’s more! Starting today and stretching on for a while Wanted is available for free again (on Amazon). You’ll notice a trend with my books and Amazon. Say what you will about them trying to take over the publishing world, they provide tools and work with little people like me. Oh sure, in person I’m rather large and sometimes even imposing, but in the grand scheme of the ocean of publishing I’m barely making a ripple. Regardless, if you haven’t snagged a copy of Wanted or New Beginnings yet, I strongly encourage you to do so! It’s free and there are no strings attached. Not to mention you won’t be able to stop reading there, you’ll want to pick up the sequels too!

Wanted, book 1, by Jason Halstead

Wanted, post-apocalyptic science fiction by Jason Halstead

Wanted on Amazon

Wanted on Amazon UK

Wanted on Barnes and Noble

Wanted on Smashwords

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Another Amazon Prime Experiment

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

In a recent post I both applauded the usefulness of the KOLL (Kindle Owners Lending Libary – I think) and challenged the usefulness of Amazon Prime to people who suffer from a lack of enough hours in the day.  None of that has changed from that post until this one, but I’m trying to figure out just what an author can get out it.

For me the greatness of KDP Select (the program through Kindle Publishing where an author enrolls his or her books in to the KOLL program) isn’t about the lending or the borrowing. It’s about the [limited] ability to manage promotions. Each title gets a 5 day collection of days that the book can be offered for free. These can be broken up into 5 separate days, a five day stint, or any combination of lesser time (in full day increments running from midnight PST to midnight PST). That helps books get visibility and exposure, and if everything else is lined up AND the book doesn’t suck, then it can help generate sales.

So with that in mind, I’m releasing the third book in my Vitalis series, Parasites. Parasites isn’t going free but it’s close at only $.99. New Beginnings, the book that started it all, will be free for both Thursday and Friday (January 19th and 20th). Grab it and check it out, it’s got some great reviews and it’s free, what more could you ask for? And after that’s over, you’ll surely want to know more about this undiscovered planet and how the survivors are making do, so check out The Colony and the brand new third installment: Parasites.

Parasites, book 3 in the Vitalis series by Jason Halstead

Parasites, book 3 in the Vitalis series by Jason Halstead

Parasites on Amazon (doesn’t that just sound cool?)

Parasites on Amazon UK

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Sex Sells on Amazon Prime

January 18, 2012 2 comments

I did it again – a bit of word play designed to humor me and strike a ring of truth. For others, it’s deserving of a facepalm. This time around I’m continuing my KDP Select free promotion experimentations. Sex Sells, one one lonely foray into the romance genre, is free today and tomorrow (January 18th and 19th) on Amazon. My wife assures me that calling it a romance isn’t exactly accurate, she thought it was something more likely to get the juices flowing for a reader – creative or otherwise.

I’ll admit, I seldom write about sex in my books. I may come close on occasion, but that’s a subject I prefer to leave up to the imagination. Describing carnal moments in detail takes the magic out of them. This particular book isn’t about sex, at least not directly. It’s about a lonely average guy trying to make a living without dealing with the consequences. When those same consequences smack him in the face (and worse), the real challenge begins. Add in some kidnapping, corruption, and dash of exhibitionism and you’ve got a unique book that is both entertaining and, ahem, fun.

Sex Sells, by Jason Halstead

Sex Sells, a romantica novel by Jason Halstead

Sex Sells on Amazon

Sex Sells on Amazon UK

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

KDP Select and Human Nature

January 17, 2012 4 comments

Those who know me will groan and realize they expected nothing less at my choice of titles and words. Those who don’t know me will groan anyhow (for the same reason). The Human Nature I’m referring to has nothing to do with our personalities and quirks. This Human Nature is a science fiction book I wrote a while back, but aside from some great reviews it’s never really taken off. Enter KDP Select and Amazon Prime…

I’ve got a blog post coming out in a couple of days about a new release that’s coming out this week (so stay tuned!). This particular experiment took place last week. Using the KDP Select promotions manager I keyed up Human Nature to run free for two days late last week (Friday and Saturday, I believe). I ‘sold’ a couple hundred copies of it. Since then it’s been selling at the regular price at a much improved rate and moving up the charts. At this early stage, it looks like a successful experiment.

There’s a downside though. That being the exclusivity Amazon requires in order to enroll in the KDP Select program. Just this morning I had an email from a reader in Australia who was looking for my books but was unable to get them because of her location and the fact that she doesn’t have a Kindle. I’m trying to help her figure out a way to do so, even if it means using the Kindle App for the PC and reading it on her computer. I’m not sure if Amazon is able to sell books in Australia. Shame on me for my ignorance, but I’m using this situation to eliminate that problem. In the meantime let me point out to my fellow writers that are considering KDP Select that it can be a double edged sword.

And for anyone who’s curious about the stand-alone novel, Human Nature, here’s the cover you click on to go check it out!

Human Nature, sci fi / romance by Jason Halstead

Human Nature, sci-fi / romance by Jason Halstead

Human Nature on Amazon

Human Nature on Amazon UK

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Amazon Prime: Am I Naive or Ignorant?

January 14, 2012 7 comments

I tossed a couple of my books into the KDP Select program back in December. KDP Select allows Amazon Prime members the opportunity to download a book for free and read it at their leisure, then check it back in when they’re finished so they can get another one (free). For each borrow against my books I get an even share of the $500,000 pool Amazon set aside. This could be a good or a bad thing, depending upon what that share is worth.

For December it worked out to be $1.70 per borrow. Considering the books I entered were $.99 books (every book in my Vitalis series is only $.99), if I sold a copy I would only receive $.35. Having them borrowed, on the other hand, was far more lucrative for me. Even better news, the program worked so well in December that Amazon upped the port to $700,000 in January of 2012.

Now the flip side – I had 9 copies of two books borrowed in December. 9 * 1.70 = $15.30. Nothing outstanding but I’ll take every penny I can get at this point. So far almost halfway through January I have 6 borrows. I also slipped two more books into being Amazon only – Human Nature and Sex Sells. No borrows on those yet, but It’s only been three days so far and those aren’t big selling books. I blame the cover art I have on them for starters. I’m told the books are great (I agree, but I’m biased). The other reason marketing tactics, I’ve never used any. Time to put an end to that!

That’s the other benefit for authors in the KDP Select program: promotions. I can schedule 1 – 5 days in a 90 day period for each book to be offered for free. How does that help sales? It slips the book to links where people can find and grab it, and the more people that grab it, the more lists it gets on. That’s exposure, and exposure is what sells books for a little feller like me.

Thus Human Nature has been available for free yesterday and today. I’ll probably try it again next month some time. Sex Sells I plan to have go free on Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week (January 17 & 18). Not long after that I’ll run New Beginnings (in my Vitalis series) free for a day or two as well as a gimmick to help boost interest in the release of the third book in that series (Parasites). Parasites will also be in the KDP Select program, for the Amazon Prime readers out there.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, WTF is it? I’ll be honest, before KDP Select I had no idea. I live in my sheltered world writing, working, and picking up heavy weights. I don’t get out much and when I do it’s because I’ve been dragged (kicking and screaming) to the mall so my wife can go shopping. I did, however, get a Kindle Fire for Christmas. It’s neat, I really enjoy it and I wish it would have been available a few years ago when I suckered myself into buying my iPad. C’est la vie. Shoppers remorse aside, the Kindle Fire came with a month of free Amazon Prime membership. So I got to see what all the buzz was about.

I still don’t get it. I hear Prime members get free shipping. Great… I’m not selling enough books to do much in the way of shopping yet though. Okay, what about borrowing KDP Select books? I tried it and was surprised to see I can only borrow one book a month, even if I return it. Suddenly it seemed much less worth it to me. It began to make sense why I wasn’t getting more borrows on my books. It’s a work in progress though, both for me and, I’m sure, for Amazon. If there’s more cool features to being a Prime member I’d like to learn about those too. Until then I’ll keep experimenting with trying to get more exposure for my books.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Picking Sides in Amazon vs. the World

December 10, 2011 4 comments

Amazon’s new KDP Select program allows Amazon Prime members to download books for free. Or free in a sense that they pay their monthly Amazon Prime membership then get to read as many books as they can handle. It’s not so different from a public librar, with the exception of the library being funded by our tax money instead of a direct contribution.

But on the other end theirs a lot of talk and concern. Writers are afraid that Amazon is trying to corner the market with KDP Select. To which I say, “Yeah, they probably are!” They won’t succeed at monopolizing the ebook business, but they will almost definitely pull in additional market share because of it. The concern on the part of writers is that Amazon demands any book enrolled in their KDP Select program be withdrawn from all other retail locations for 90 days. Only the ebook versions, not print books, but for many of us that’s the lion’s share.

Some authors don’t like it because it takes pricing out of the mix. All books in the KDP Select are essentially priced the same – free. The way an author gets paid at the end of the month is based upon how many times their book was borrowed. The available funds are split evenly between the total number of borrows for that month, giving a price / borrow number. Then that number is multiplied by the number of times an authors book was borrowed. That’s their royalty. That means if you’ve got a book selling or $9.99 and I’ve got a book selling for $2.99 via regular Amazon Kindle ebooks, but both get borrowed 100 times in KDP Select, then we both get the same amount of money. For those $9.99 writers who sell a lot of books, I’m betting – hoping, even – that they don’t jump on board. The fewer writers that take advantage of it the better the chance guys like me with books on the best-selling lists who aren’t controlling the #1 – 6 spots will get noticed.

To that end, I’ve enrolled two of my books in it. New Beginnings and The Colony. Those are the first two books in my Vitalis series, with the third and fourth books due out in early Q1 of 2012. As a data point, a couple of hours after I set New Beginings to be a part of this program I had one copy borrowed! Woohoo…and then nothing since.

But here’s another interesting data point with some reasonably accurate numbers to consider.

Month to date paid sales for December:

Amazon -534

B&N -1

Smashwords – 1

Pretty impressive, isn’t it? I know other people with more success on these platforms, but I’ve been focusing on Amazon because that’s where the majority of readers are. I do have friends with Nooks and I don’t want to leave them behind though, and Smashwords distributes to Sony, Kobo, Apple, and others. For me the revenue coming from those channels is unpredictable and never enough to worry about, so I don’t even bother forecasting it.

I’m testing the waters with KDP Select. If it works out well for me or if I get people asking I’ll be convinced to migrate more stuff over. For now what I’m doing is working great. The thing about publishing is that it’s a constantly evolving beast. Just five years ago selling ebooks in volume was unheard of. Now the traditional publishing world has been upended. Will KDP Select herald in another new age filled with new opportunities? I don’t know, but I’m poised to jump in if it does and make sure I get to ride the wave! Don’t fear change, my friends, embrace it. The alternative is obsolescence and a soup-kitchen.

Vitalis Book 1 - New Beginnings

Vitalis - New Beginnings, on Amazon

The Colony, book two in the science fiction series, Vitalis

Vitalis - The Colony, on Amazon

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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