Tag Archives: KDP Select

Shooting for the “magic 1000” in ebooks

This has been a pretty successful last couple of months. Starting with my novel Yseult at the beginning of January, I’ve gotten five new ebooks up on Amazon and have editied one more novel, Shadow of Stone, another Arthurian historical fantasy. I’ve booked editing services, and am scheduled to get the novel back on April 27. I’ve also contacted the cover artist who did the cover for Yseult, and it looks like he’ll be able to start working on a cover for the second book in the next couple of weeks. It’s all coming together, and working pretty well, too. Since I started out on this “experiment,” my earnings on ebooks have actually managed to make it into four figures. (That’s total, mind you!)

The other day on the Kindle Boards, I read a thread about getting to 1000 sales, after which everything gets easier. 🙂 That’s not even entirely tongue-in-cheek: supposedly after this point, internal Amazon promotion kicks in more, and the writer doesn’t have to do quite as marketing herself. So I pulled out the spreadsheets for January and February and added in my running counts for this month, and low and behold — I’m over two-thirds of the way there! Since January, I’ve sold 670 ebooks, (that’s paid-sold, not free-sold *g*) and had 131 borrows. So if I keep on plugging and luck does not desert me, I just might make 1000 by my birthday in May. That would be a nice birthday present!

In the spirit of keeping the engine running, I have another freebie scheduled for Friday, March 23, my new science fiction short story collection, The Future, Imperfect. Then next week, Yseult will be free again for two days, March 26-27. At the end of the month, Yseult is going off KDP Select. I will be putting it up on Smashwords so that it will be available at B&N and iTunes and the rest as well.

Whatever comes of all this, it’s a fun ride. I hope everyone else is enjoying themselves in their endeavors too!

Working on a science fiction collection, and an experiment

In my continuing attempt to make my previously published fiction available in ebook form, I am now working on a collection of some of my near future science fiction stories. My daughter once again helped me out with a cover, and I would love some feedback if you have the time!

Future Imperfect

This one has taken me a bit longer, since I want to get enough stories into the collection that I will feel justified in charging 2.99 (and getting 70% royalties rather than only 35%). For the first time, I will also be including a previously unpublished story. The novelette is set in the same world as the other stories, so I’m pulling it from the submission circus and adding it to the collection. Might not pay off, but thematically it belongs with the others, and I have plenty more to submit, after all — especially if I spend some time polishing half-a-dozen pieces of fiction that have yet to make their way out into the market.

That, of course, is one of my on-going goals, which I keep shoving to the back burner while I play epublisher. Another thing I really need to do is update the publications on this blog and on my web page. I just joined Amazon Associates, and that could give me a few more pennies here or there if I make sales directly from my links. But the first thing on my list is still to get the new collection finished and up.

I did a little experiment with KDP Select this week: I didn’t a 24-hour unannounced freebie of Dragon Time, no promotion, nothing. I got a total of 37 downloads — compared to 2000 the first day the first time it went free. Of course, I don’t have any exact comparison, since so many other factors play a role, but that seems pretty indicative to me that promoting helps.

Yseult continues to sell steadily, a couple of copies a day. Nothing earth-shattering, but I’m still pretty pleased, since I’m only a newbie to this epub venture. I also managed to have Amazon change the epic fantasy category to Arthurian fantasy, which means it’s back in a top 100 list (not much competition there *g*). I’m hoping the change will help in the long run, having Yseult listed in a category where people who are actually looking for Arthurian fiction might even find it!

Luck and skill to all. 🙂

Promoting Ebooks with a Free Run through KDP Select

Note, Nov. 2014: Now that I have returned to using free as a strategy for promoting my books, I am updating the list here again. If you notice any links that don’t work or have any suggestions for links to add, please let me know in the comments!

If you’re promoting a 99c sale rather than a free run, you can find my list of sites for that here.

During the month of February 2012, I did four free promotions with KDP Select, and I’ve started to get the hang of it. After the freebies, my ebooks have bounced into the top 100 Paid in their categories. As I write this, Yseult (which was free for 24 hours on Feb. 29) has the following rankings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#48 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
#59 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

If you check the popularity ranking for Historical Fantasy in ebooks, it’s even #3. 🙂 (And Dragon Time is #8!)

I promised a bunch of people I would write a blog post about what I do leading up to and during a free promotion, so here goes.

There are several folks you might want to contact about your free promotion once you’ve scheduled it. These sites will announce your book either 1) if they think it’s worthy, or 2) if you’ve paid them enough. The sites that don’t charge for announcements usually don’t guarantee being listed. With the paid sites of course you do (but note that not all of them will promote everything).


Indie Book of the Day (No erotica.)

FreeBookSy (Free and paid.)

eBookLister (Note: If you’ve submitted a freebie for the same book before, you get an error message stating that your listing will be corrected.)

Book Angel – Book must be PG-13!

Ask David

Read Free.ly

The eReader Cafe (Free and paid. Book should have at least 3 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)

Choosy Bookworm (Free and paid. Book must be at least 70 pages long & have at least 8 reviews with a 4+ average.)

Free Books (Hands down the easiest place to submit the info for your free promo — only ASIN and dates!)

BookScream (While they’re in beta, all ads on BookScream are free.)

eBooks Habit (Free and paid; for a listing, books must have at least 3 reviews. No erotica.)

Reading Deals (Requires a minimum of 5 reviews & a 4.0 average rating. No graphic sexual content.)

SF Signal Free Fiction Tip Line (For science fiction and fantasy)

Frugal Freebies

Awesomegang (Free and paid.)


New Free Kindle Books


Armadillo EBooks

Bookpraiser (Free and paid. Requires you to like, tweet, subscribe, etc.) Note: The last time I tried to enter a book here, it kept insisting that my book description could be no longer than 500 characters, even though my text editor said it was under the limit. The count it finally accepted was less than 250 characters. Go figure …



(BTW, before booking any paid ads, you might want to check out my post about Alexa rankings for advertising sites.)

Bknights on Fiverr (As the location indicates, promotions here cost $5, plus 50c fee)

Ereader News Today (Prices starting at $30)

EBookDaily – Still in beta, and the price is donate whatever you think is appropriate.

Book Basset ($7.99 per day. Requires at least 10 reviews with a rating of 3.5 or higher.)

ManyBooks.net (Prices starting at $25. Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Slots fill up early, so you should probably apply at least 2 weeks in advance, if not more.)

Ignite Your Book (99c for a listing on their page, and another $10 for the complete promo, including tweets and newsletter, which you need to order separately.)

Bookgorilla (Prices starting at $40.)

EBookStage (Must have at least 5 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher. Promotion packages starting at $12, but can be free with enough “promotion points.”)

Books Butterfly (A number of various pricing options depending on how many readers your ad will reach.)

Sweet Free Books ($5. At least 5 reviews and a 3.5 rating.)

Digital Book Today (Free and paid; books must be at least 100 pages long and have at least 18 reviews with a rating of 4 or higher. No erotica.)

BookRaid – Pricing per click, starting at 5c, with a minimum threshold of $2 — so at less than 40 clicks, the listing is free. Maximum charge $10. For fiction, the book must be at least 120 pages long. It cannot have been promoted in the last 8 weeks.

Good Kindles

Freebookshub.com ($8 donation for a listing)

Kindle Nation Daily (costs lots)

BookBub (Various pricing schemes according to genre and whether the book is free or not. VERY expensive, but most who have used it think it’s worth it.)

Robin Reads (Listings start at $40.)

One Hundred Free Books (Listings start at $75)


Booklover’s Heaven (Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.)

Kindle Spotlight Book Promo

Snickslist (Listings start at $1. Note: this can only be done while the book is free!)

xtme:englishbooks (A German site for English ebooks)

During your promo

There are also a number of things you can do during or shortly before your free days to help potential readers find your book:

1. Post it to Addicted to Ebooks (You need to register to be able to post here, and you have to post on a day your book is free.)

2. For erotica, announce it on The Naughty List

3. Announce your freebie on LibraryThing and Goodreads.

4. Blog it, natch.

5. Post about your free book on your other social networking sites (Linked In, Google+, etc.) I try to pace this, since I have the sites that allow it set to automatically post to Twitter.

6. Announce it on the Kindle Boards (Links To Free Books) while it’s free.

7. Post on Facebook pages on your free day(s):

Your Facebook Wall

Free Kindle Books
eReader1 US (Guidelines for posting are here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ereader1-us/book-promotions-including-self-promo-by-authors-and-publishers-and-their-friends/448662358501661)
Amazon Kindle
EBook Korner Kafe (You have to like and share a Focus Post in order to be able to post here.)
Indie Kindle (You have to be a member to post to their promotion page.)

8. Tweet (use hashtags #FreeKindleBook #freekindle #freebook #free #kindlepromo). Don’t forget to thank those who retweet!

9. Send a message to @kindlenews on twitter (over 20,000 followers). If you write in the genre of fantasy and science fiction, send a message to @kindlefantasies (600 followers). Here are few more potential accounts to notify, but be judicious. No one wants to be spamming twitterverse with ads for your book: @DigitalBkToday @Bookyrnextread @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @free_kindle @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook @FreeKindleStuff @KindleUpdates @Booksontheknob @Kindle_promo @IndAuthorSucess @CheapKindleDly @KindleDaily (Note: in order for them to retweet, many of these require that you follow them first.)

All the promotion is a lot of work, but it can pay off. Even for someone who is writing in the unsalable genre of Arthurian fiction. 🙂 BTW, I update this list fairly regularly, so if you have a suggestion for a site to add or remove, please let me know in the comments below!

Related posts:

E-book promotions: Countdown – meh. Permafree – yay! (kinda)

Amazon trying to re-Kindle interest in KDP Select: The new “Countdown Deals”

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.

Leap Year Promotion: Yseult free for 24 hours, Feb. 29!

It’s starting to look like I’m addicted to these free promotions, doesn’t it? The truth of the matter is, they’ve been very good for my sales. With the exception of my story collection If Tears Were Wishes, everything I’ve offered for free with KDP Select has come out of the free promotion with a dramatic increase in sales. Five days after the free promotion for Dragon Time it is still in a couple of top 100 lists:

#35 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies
#91 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical

So anyway, if you didn’t get a copy of Yseult during the introductory promotion, here’s your chance to get it now. And please pass the word along! The more people who download and the better rankings it gets, the better it will be for sales when it goes back to paid.

Now, if I can only learn how to create sustained sales without going through this promotion gig every week or two. It’s a lot of work.

That isn’t all I’ve been doing, though. Over on the Codex Writing Workshop, they had a “subber” challenge, and I finally got some stories out into the cold cruel world again. Seven short story submissions in two days. And my “ready to send” list is still way to long. I have to do that more often, challenge or no challenge.

I also have only two more chapters left to go on this final editing pass of Shadow of Stone. I doubt if I’ll be finishing it tonight, though. I’m tired.

BTW, my story collections got some very nice reviews by Kriti Godey. She won a LibraryThing giveaway of Yseult and liked it so much she got all the stories I’ve put up for Kindle until now. Thanks again, Kriti! I guess this is what they call creating an audience base. It’s not an overnight thing; I have to give my target audience the chance to find me. But at least in the indie world I’m not going to get relegated to the remainder bin.

Got a #1 slot again!

Even though my “Dragon Time” collection is still reviewless on Amazon, it’s doing amazingly well during its freebie. The stats as I am writing this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical

When I last checked the downloads, it was at over 1400. Behind Yseult and Never Ever After on the first day, but already more than double what If Tears Were Wishes got during the three days it was free (600 downloads). I can understand all the downloads for Yseult, 1) because it’s a novel and 2) it was listed on Pixel of Ink. But I find it hard to understand the differences in my short story collections, especially since I have been trying to follow very similar marketing strategies leading up to my freebies. If anything, “Dragon Time” had less pre-hype as a result of me running around between doctors on the day it went free because of an eye infection.

Well, as I keep saying, it’s all a learning experience. At some point, I will try to summarize my learning into one succinct and brilliant post (right).

In the meantime, I will do my best to share my odd epub experiences (and residual traditional publication experiences) with anyone interested. 🙂

Extending free promotion for another day

My short story collection If Tears Were Wishes is up to #10 now in contemporary fantasy:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#10 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Contemporary

When I looked at the bestseller list though, I realized my poor little collection of borderline fantasy stories is in the vampire category. That means it’s competing against all these paranormal romances with strange creatures that are supposed to bite and don’t. I might need to consider recategorizing it.

It hasn’t broken into the top 100 Free yet, though, which both of my other freebies did by the second day. I’m suspecting that could have something to do with the fact that it doesn’t have any reviews. I don’t enlist my family to write reviews, and with Never Ever After I guess I just got really lucky that one of the first folks who bought the collection also wrote a review. For those trolling for freebies, it probably makes the book look a lot less serious it it hasn’t been reviewed. Yes, in the product description I quote some reviews of one of the stories when it was first professionally published, (in Asimov’s, no less) but that doesn’t give it any stars on Amazon. So it looks to me as if I have to move “write more book blogging sites” up on my list of priorities and see to it that I have at least one review for an ebook before I make it free. That’s going to be a challenge.

For the sake of experiment, I won’t cancel the free promotion I have scheduled for Dragon Time next week. It will interesting to see if my theory holds true.

In any case, I decided to extend the promo for “If Tears Are Wishes” for another day to try and give it a bit more momentum.

I got some tips not too long ago on getting reviews, but I would love more if anyone has some! I’m collecting a list of addresses and URLs, people and sites I need to contact, and I think that will be my next big project rather than putting together a new story collection. Must be practical here! 🙂

If Tears Were Wishes and Other Short Stories Now Available for Kindle

Time and the dark
Had come, but not alone. The southern gate …
Made now an entrance for three other men,
Who strode along the gravel or the grass,
Careless of who should hear them. When they came
To the great oak and the two empty chairs,
One paused, and held the others with a tongue
That sang an evil music while it spoke…

Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Mordred, A Fragment”

Ok, that doesn’t have anything to do with my most recent short story collection, but it’s the quote for Chapter 22 of Shadow of Stone, and it’s been sitting there in WordPerfect (yes, I know I’m a dinosaur) for days, mocking me, reminding me that I haven’t been doing any editing while I’ve been working on getting the latest collection up. But it’s also one of my favorite quotes among those I’ve used for my Arthurian novels. Especially this: “Time and the dark had come, but not alone.” I love that. It dances through my head at the most inappropriate times.

But anyway, back to what I should be writing about, my most recent ebook story collection, If Tears Were Wishes and Other Short Stories. It’s now available for Kindle at the unbeatable price of 99 cents! But wait! It can be beaten! February 16-17 it will be FREE, so don’t get it now, wait until Thursday and download it then. And please pass the word along. 🙂

I have another promotion coming up next week, my collection Dragon Time and Other Stories, which will be free from Feb. 22-23. That collection has been available for a while, but I recently unpublished it on Smashwords and enrolled it in KDP Select to take advantage of the promotional opportunities.

I spent most of my “writing time” today notifying various sites of the freebies, and in the days before that, formatting and getting If Tears Were Wishes up for Kindle. Which is why Edwin Arlington Robinson has been staring at me for so long, reminding me of how much I like that quote.

Given how busy I was the last few days, I also forgot to blog about a new interview with me on J. R. Tomlin’s blog. I did tweet about it, but it slipped my mind when I wrote my last blog post. I’d intended to include it mid-week, but that never got written.

Wish me luck on getting back to the editing! It’s an awful temptation to keep putting ebooks up, since the gratification comes so quickly. But eventually I will run out of previously published material and will have to get back to spending more time on new stuff. 🙂

New Collection, New Cover, and New KDP Select Results

Ok, so I went a bit overboard on the alliteration there, but I couldn’t resist. Been another busy week. I continue to make consistent progress on this editing pass of Shadow of Stone, and I have a new short story collection in the works. I’m not quite done yet, but I do have a cover:


Shiny, yes? 🙂 The artist of this one is Karri Klawiter, who has just started branching out into cover design. If you’re in the market for a ebook cover, definitely check her out! She’s great to work with and very affordable.

My little collection Never Ever After is doing surprisingly well, giving that it’s short stories, which tend not to do as well as novels. It even seems to have started spilling over to my other works.

Anyway, some of the results of the latest KDP Select freebie. I can’t figure out exactly how many books I was able to give away, because accounting got a bit screwed up on Amazon, but it was definitely well over 5,000. The screw-up gave me a happy dance moment a day after Never Ever After went back to paid and I thought I’d sold 250 copies in one day. Nope – just a correction to the data, unfortunately. As a result, I don’t know how many copies I actually sold coming off the free promotion, but the next day I sold 43, the most sales I’ve had in one day on any of my ebooks. I assume the 99 cent price helps.

I try not to obsess about sales and rankings, so I only allow myself to check once a day. The best I saw for Never Ever After was on the third day after it went back to paid:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,706 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#4 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies
#15 in Books > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology
#28 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > World Literature > Mythology

But what I think might be helping me more than anything else is being ranked in the top 100 “Hot New Releases in Fantasy”:

Echoes of Betrayal: Paladin’s Legacy
Elizabeth Moon

City of Dragons: Volume Three of the Rain Wilds Chronicles
Robin Hobb

Never Ever After: Three Short Stories
Ruth Nestvold

Indie authors are of two minds where rankings are concerned. I tend to think rankings can be very important to sales, especially if they get you on a list like “Hot New Releases in Fantasy.” Some authors argue that “also bought” is much more important, and having a book go free isn’t worth it because it screws up your “also boughts.” This is true enough: if you look at the Amazon page for Never Ever After, you will see all kinds of genres among the “also boughts,” lots of books that are unlikely to get my story collection any new sales. But I tend to think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I’ve sold at least a hundred copies, after all. And if you look at the Amazon page for Yseult, you’ll see that the “also boughts” there are much more appropriate, mostly fantasy and historical novels. Amazon’s recommendations seem to correct themselves after a while.

Note: In case you don’t subscribe to Daily Science Fiction, my short story “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Monkey” went up on the web site this week. 🙂

Results of KDP Select Promotion: Yseult #20 in Historical Fantasy

… and that’s PAID for Kindle. 🙂

I am stunned and amazed at how well my first freebie promotion worked. I can’t say exactly how many free downloads Yseult got, but when I first checked after the promotion, it was at over 8600 units. Now it’s at over 8700, with 31 units borrowed (for which Amazon pays authors a per unit price, depending on the funds in the Kindle Prime borrowing pot). So no matter how you look at it, it’s a couple hundred dollars in a couple of days. The price for the cover art is already paid for. (Plug: Derek is great to work with, and provided several initial designs before I narrowed it down by asking readers here and on Facebook and Twitter. Check him out!)

Unfortunately, I have not been as successful at getting back to working on original fiction again. My brain seems to function in gears, and now it’s in marketing gear, which makes it very hard for me to shift back into creation gear. I have started work on a new story story collaboration, and I’ve gotten Shadow of Stone into Scrivener for editing purposes, but that’s not new stuff. At least it’s fiction again. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m bad at balancing. But if I want to make a career as an indie author, something I really have to learn is going back and forth between making new words and promoting my work.

If anyone has any tips on how to strike a balance between marketing and creation, please share!