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Friday, January 23, 2015

Using Amazon as a Marketing Tool

...before they use you.

Kindle Unlimited—started in July and conceived by Amazon—is for die-hard readers. Participants pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and can read as many books as they want. The catch is, not all books are included in the program.

How does the program help authors?

Payout started in the $2.20 range but has dropped since to 1.43 in December. It had declined to approximately $1.33 until the last month's bump. 

Readership is up. The author can rake in new readers and get name recognition in that way. 

It is voluntary. No one is holding a gun to the authors’ head and insisting on their participation. I used it as a marketing tool for my prequel to The Magic Withheld series, Out of Magic, because the novelette was never intended as a money-maker. 

But the other books I've written...eh, I’m not so willing to do this.

Some are happy with KU. Others are not. Some are pulling out of KU due to a massive loss of sales. 

The problem? Too many books. Amazon tends to market for their own benefit. The company is geared for profits and getting that monthly $9.99 fee is gravy. The number of e-books especially self-published has exploded from 600,000 in 2010 to 3 million in 2014. Amazon has an endless supply of books. 

They don’t really need yours.

Depressing? I’ll say. But it is a fact that some writers fantasize so much about the words published author that they take a few short cuts and publish before crossing the molten lava of critique. Their books go into the caldron with authors who have gone through the fire, formatted correctly, polished their grammar. Kinda dilutes the mix in a way. Plus creates a skeptical public who notice poor writing.

Amazon highlights their Kindle Unlimited and that goes for the books in that program. Where does it leave those who don’t participate? Their sales show the same dip that KU authors report. 

The only way to combat the trend is to keep your name and brand in front of readers. Examples:

Author page on Amazon. Make a page. For Pete's sake, take the time to make a doggone page.

Social networks. Yep, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are becoming wall-to-wall ads. But get your name into them anyway. New books and authors have caught my eye more than once and I’ve bought a lot of books that way.

Connect the two. Set up your author page on Amazon with your social networking.

And for heaven’s sake, blog. Post occasionally and link that to your FB page and Amazon author page.

There are ways to use Amazon and service them as well as yourself. Don't let them call all the shots. 


Liz A. said...

Lately a few of my favorite authors have disappeared from Barnes & Noble. Since I have a Nook, this is troubling to me. I assume they've done the KU thing. But that leaves me out in the cold.

Nicola said...

Thanks for the tips! All the best.