The novel I’m promoting, The Chords of War, has been out seven months, so it’s not brand new. My overall big plan that I followed a few months ago was to submit it for a few awards, and, if it wins anything, promote like crazy. Recently, the book made the finals for Foreword Magazine’s INDIE Award. In promoting that award, I thought it was time to try out Kindle Nation Daily (KND).
I had not tried it in years, so I wanted to see if it still had a positive effect on sales. KND is a combination website and Facebook page that promotes special deals among Kindle books. Kindle is Amazon’s version of eBooks. You need a Kindle reader or a free app for your phone, tablet, or computer to read a Kindle book. People subscribe to KND to find books at bargain prices in a category they love.
For KND to be most effective, you need to price your book low, say $1.99 or even 99 cents, the lowest price for a book on Kindle*. To try it out this time, I priced it at $1.99.
A few things you need to know about selling eBooks vs. print books. An eBook does not have paper or printing costs. Thus, at least for a short time, you can sell your eBook at a very low price. With printed books, you are more limited by the cost of printing and shipping, which can be significant.
Nonetheless for eBooks, you still need to do everything else, such as write masterfully. You have to have the manuscript edited and proofread well. As I former senior editor at a publishing company, I came to one big truth: you cannot be a great editor of your own book. You don’t have the objectivity for it. This means you still have costs if you pay for an editor.
For your eBook, you also need a great cover, and it has to look professional inside, including copyright information. Some self-publishers do it all, but there’s a lot to learn to be a great designer
Then come the advertising costs.
As with all advertising, you pay up front and hope it does some magic. As anyone conversant in advertising will tell you, one ad alone won’t do it for you. Ideally, you create an ad campaign, and your book comes at people from multiple angles.
I’m not doing that per se in this blog as I want to see the effect of individual schemes. If one scheme works particularly well, then adding others at the same time may do the trick.
With Kindle Nation Daily, you have various options on how your book is seen. When you go to the promotion page, you get a dozen different choices. Most of them cost $120 for a one-day promotion. According to KND, your promotion goes out to up to 288,000 readers. If your book is a thriller or romance or children’s book, it can be the Thriller of the Day, the Romance of the Day, or Kid’s Book of the Day, which gives you a clue about the most popular genres.
Before selecting which one I wanted, I went onto the Writer’s Café in KindleBoards (now called “KBoards”), which is a chat room peopled by eBook writers who ask questions or give answers. I searched for “Kindle Nation Daily” and came up with a half dozen fairly recent threads about using KND. Most said they had disappointing results. Still, I needed to see for myself. No one said which deal was best.
I chose the Kindle Daily Deal, as in the past that one was the most effective for me—the first post out of the day. When you buy a deal, you’re given a calendar of what days are taken and what is available. In the past, I’ve found Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays seemed the most effective—probably because people were more free then, or perhaps they feel the week is ending and are starting to consider what they’ll read on the weekend. I found Mondays were the weakest for promotion.
The first available date was April 12, a Thursday. I took it.
How did it do? First, I had to make sure to change the price from $8.99 to $1.99. Amazon said it can take up to 24 hours for a price to change, so I changed the price late in the day on April 10. All day of the 11th, the price was at $1.99. The book’s ranking did not change that day at all, so simply changing your price without telling anyone does nothing. That day, the book was ranked low, beyond a million on the bestseller list, more specifically around #1,600,000. That’s low. That means I hadn’t sold a single copy for weeks.
On April 13th, I went onto Amazon and saw this happy ranking:
I found my best ranking was #32,702. That’s wonderful, rising in rank by over a million. How many sales did that take? As a publisher on Kindle, I found that information. I sold ten books that day to get that rank.
That also means each book sold cost me $12, and I made sixty-six cents on each of those sales. Clearly, this did not pay for itself. Still, it’s the first thing since I started this blog to have an effect.
In contrast, I found on KBoards someone who tracked her sales using Bookbub, which is a similar service, but lets you sell not only on Amazon but also on other formats such as Nook and Apple iBooks. Click here to see that post.
On Bookbub, the author paid $420 for promotion, and then made over $18,000 in revenue. Not all was thanks to Bookbub itself as the book was selling well on its own, but it was still a significant bump. It took her three-and-and-half years and 61 submissions to get onto Bookbub for a single day. Thus, you can’t count on Bookbub for your campaign. But Bookbub is gold.
In short, you can get on Kindle Nation Daily assuredly, but Bookbub is mostly taken by big publishers so it is nothing you can count on. I’ll write more about Bookbub later, particularly with its new Facebook-like advertising option, which I’m trying out now.
There are many other areas I still have yet to explore to promote my book, such as Facebook ads and pages, newsletters, Goodreads, building a database of readers, and more. Come back to this site for future explorations.
*You can also make your book free on Kindle by making it free on Smashwords, and then Kindle matches the price. Thus, there are a lot of free books available on Kindle. While people by the thousands may download your book, will they read it? I’ve learned that only a few percent of people seem to read a free book all the way through. There’s something about spending money, even 99 cents, that commits people to reading.