Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select Promotion Tools

As an eBook author, you should acquaint yourself with some of Amazon’s promotional tools available through Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select). (https://kdp.amazon.com/select?ref_=kdp_BS_TN_se)

These tools are designed to spur interest in a book and to create sales. There are two tools that are most effective.

The first is the Free Book Promotion tool. It allows the seller to choose 5 days during every 90-day term to make their book free to the public. The motivation is to get more eyes on the book, hopefully spurring interest, and to increase reviews. Consensus is that the offering of free eBooks does tend to raise subsequent sales, at least nominally. We have used this tool on about 20 different titles, and many book don’t show any sales directly following a free offering, while some show anywhere from 5 to 10 extra copies sold, and we’ve had a few books that have sold 50-100 extra copies in the days right after an offering.

The second KDP tool is the Kindle Countdown deal.  This promotion can last for anywhere from one hour to seven days. It allows the author to lower the price to as low as $.99 per copy (Must be at least $1.00 less than the retail price). The price can rise in 4 steps back to the original retail price during the period and there is a countdown clock visible on the product page. Alternatively, the price can stay at the initial price for the entire selected period.  Compared to the Free tool, the obvious benefit of this tool, beyond the promotional effect, is that the seller is still making 70% of all sales on the book, while selling more copies.

Note that your book cannot be available as an eBook anywhere else during the KDP Select term of 90 days. This means that if you want to use the promotions, you must stop selling the book on Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore… and this can often be a challenge to do. If you are working through an aggregator such as Smashwords, you will need to unpublish your book at least two weeks before signing up for KDP Select. If you have not done this, Amazon will warn you and can remove your book from the KDP Select program and keep your revenues.

That being said, the KDP Select program has proven to be more effective for some titles than the alternative of selling them through the various online bookstores, and the reason is that Amazon.com is the largest online book and ebook seller.

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Two important things to note about the success of promotion tools, and about sales of books as a whole is that the description of the book must be compelling, and there should be a number of good reviews for the book.

Most people that sell their books through Amazon.com simply place a paragraph or two in the description field of the Seller Central control panel as an after-thought to writing their book. It is important, however, that the author/publisher spend some time to create a compelling description for their book. One that will entice the consumer to buy the book. The description should include interesting information about the book, positive quotes from reviews and a “Call to action” such as “To learn more about how to repair your Apple mobile devices, go to the top of this page and buy The Unauthorized Guide to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Repair: A DIY Guide to Extending the Life of Your iDevices!” It should also be noted that Amazon’s Seller Central, which is the portal for selling print books only, doesn’t allow formatting of the text placed in the description. The Kindle Direct Publishing control panel, which is where Kindle books are submitted, does allow some HTML formatting for the text, including the following tags: “b”, “br”, “em”, “font”, “h1″, “h2″, “h3″, “h4″, “h5″, “h6″, “hr”, “i”, “li”, “ol”, “p”, “pre”, “s”, “strike”, “strong”, “sub”, “sup”, “u” and “ul”. Using these HTML tags can enhance the appearance of the description itself.

Perhaps more important than the book description are the reviews for a book. Most consumers read the reviews for a product before making a decision to make the purchase, and base their decision on how good the reviews are and what is included in the feedback. It is important to build reviews, and usually the initial way to do so is to ask friends and family to buy the book and to write reviews. You may, however, want to build more reviews by using your Facebook page, Twitter, contests offering free copies and more. It is important to continually request that your readers write reviews for your book and place them on Amazon.com and a variety of other portals on the Internet. Again, good reviews will increase book sales, and the more you have, the easier it will be to sell your book.