Perhaps the following will help…
Since Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service for downloading books onto eReaders in mid-July 2014, those of us in Amazon Select saw some serious fluctuation in our royalties. My colleagues, who have in the past had successful Kindle Countdown Deals in which they saw 500+ downloads, often saw less than one hundred. Some, less than fifty. Book sales for those of us not bestselling authors were down the later part of 2014. Mine were down because I did very little promotion in November and December. I did not have a holiday book. That is not Amazon’s fault. Still, the sales I did have did not earn 70% because Kindle Unlimited only paid about $1.39 per borrow (December 2014) as opposed to $2.09 for a straight sale on a 2.99 book. Update below about KENP–Amazon’s Pay by Pages Read.
One author insists the lack of sales is because the market is saturated with an explosion of indie books. Another insists promotion sites are pumping sub-par books.
I don’t know what saturation means in our literary world. Book buyers who step into a Barnes and Noble where often more than 200,000 books are shelved, don’t think the market is saturated. They just see miles of bookshelves from which to choose a book. Readers who use libraries don’t think the market is saturated. I have to tell you, I have heard this same lament about saturation from authors for thirty-five years. Walden Books died. Books-a-Million died. Publishing houses went under. There is less physical shelving, but virtual shelving is infinite. We hear the innovation of the eReader killed bookstores. You think? IMO the honchos of those companies were not hot-wired into progress. My local used book dealers tell me eReaders have hurt their business because digital books cannot be traded. I get it. But! I never earned a dime on a used book sale. The savvy used book dealer is now a NEW and Used sales venue. They are moving to better traffic areas. My local used book dealer did not have a clue indie authors produce trade-sized paperbacks or audible books. If a book doesn’t show up on Ingram, it doesn’t exist for her. I’m educating her.
Badly written books have always been with us.
Books are a human endeavor. We will find good ones and bad ones. I have read books by trad publishers that were horribly edited, filled with printer errors and sagging story arcs. It happens across the board. Publishers who continually produce faulty books or failed to pay royalties, folded. So have digital publishers. Those of us who promote often notice that some of our fav promo sites have shut down. We are always updating our list of promoters because successful promotions are scheduled and planned up to 30 days in advance.
Even now, at almost the close of 2015, I do NOT believe the indie book market is saturated. Authors whose books are selling are smart-marketing their books. I’m learning. I do not write series. I write stand alone romance novels. I noticed three of my titles had themes of searching for a place to be, a home. I put those three novels in a bundle, had a professional cover built and a professional formatter create the set. Now, instead of three units to promote, I have a fourth. In a 2015 KCD promo, it sold 3115 units, a vast improvement over mid to late 2014. Happy dance.
Holiday books and holiday-themed sets sweep the indie market November and December. Those authors think ahead and produce work for the holiday season. They network to find like-minded authors and books for multi-author units. The authors pool their resources to cover, format, launch and promote. I noticed another three of of my titles had the words, fate, destiny and secret. To tie those together, I retitled and recovered. No Perfect Secret, No Perfect Fate and No Perfect Destiny. Now I have a 2nd bundle: Almost Perfect.
Savvy indie authors do not overlook promoting their English language books in India, France, the United Kingdom or Germany or other foreign markets. How do they do it? They access Amazon in those countries. Find their books, grab the links and Tweet, FaceBook and Google+ . They use international urls. Or they just use a multi-region url for Kindle books: Here is an ehow for one: http://authl.it. It is FREE.
What must you do to jack up your sales?
Book signings. I jumped the gun and ordered posters made for a set of six book signings. Next, I decided to freshen my book covers. Now those posters are D.E.A.D. Life got in the way of a few of the signings. I did have one successful book signing–until my extended family showed up and took over the book store. Lesson learned. Zip my lips. I promote my two ACX audible books. In eNovel we schedule group tours and rafflecopters. A group of three or ten authors generates more excitement in a Rafflecopter/Tour. Join with a colleague or two and hire Book Partners in Crime Promotions to set a tour/rafflecopter. Shared expenses make it budget friendly.
The basic rule of thumb for success is Write. Publish. Promote.
Finally, keep this in mind: You won’t master every facet of promoting your books all at once. Take baby steps. Create a file for each of your titles with links to include the international urls, a selection of book descriptions and composed tweets. Do one book at a time. Take a day off. Refresh yourself. Focus on what is best for your BOOK. Network with other authors and do not spread yourself too thin. When time permits read the articles on eNovel Authors at Work. We tell it true. No rumors, no gossip. Just F.A.C.T.S. Some eNovel authors sell books all of the time. All of the time some of our authors sell books. That’s what we do. Now for a mention of KENP, the companion to KindleUnlimited subscriptions. Those of us in Select, which means our book are sold on Amazon and no other venue, like KENP. Authors who are active promoters of their books often see between one million and 100,000+ pages read after a free or 99¢ campaign. But smaller promotions work, too. Selling fewer books, fewer pages read, but successful because each show a return on investment. We promote our books for visibility, reviews and royalties.
I’m Jackie Weger. The founder of eNovel Authors at Work. I don’t know it all. But! I know what I know, because I taught myself. You can’t go to school to become an indie author. It is a learning experience from idea to fruition. You are welcome to share your ideas and experiences in our comment section. We always learn from others.
Here’s a TIP you won’t want to ignore: Even if you have yet to snag a Bookbub slot, you may register and create an Author Page on Bookbub. Follows on Bookbub are more important than follows on Facebook or Twitter because when you do snag a slot, Bookbub will send a dedicated email to your followers that you have a book FREE or discounted. If you cannot seem to snag a global Bookbub slot, submit for a Region: UK, Canada or India. Those slots are super budget friendly. Go to the Pricing page and tick the down arrow below Select Regions. New price page will load. Here is another TIP: Of 100 authors who read this post, only ten will tick the live link to Bookbub or any other live link. Of those ten, only one will ACT. Be that ONE! Sell your book. Good luck.