When I first decided to transfer all of my courses from my Easy Way To Write website to the digital marketplace, I did a lot of research on e-book platforms before deciding to focus all of my efforts on Amazon Kindle. I may well have been hasty in my decision-making but here are my findings:
iStore is too focused on promoting A-list authors and traditionally-published books to be of much use to the independent author. Plus, I’ve never much liked Apple’s insistence on incompatibility with the rest of humanity.
Kobo seems to have a tacky feel to it. Many of the books’ covers look decidedly self-published and I didn’t want to associate my work with them.
Google have so many conditions attached to how and why you should publish with them, not least implying that the books you publish won’t belong to you anymore, that working with them just didn’t feel right.
Nook seems to me to be too small a marketplace when the Kindle is by the far the e-reader of choice.
There are many other online booksellers, of course, but my feeling was that if I wasn’t overly familiar with them, chances are nobody else would be.
Amazon is the largest retailer on the Internet. I like that they also sell lots of other products as well as books. Their commitment to customer service is legendary. Best of all, they make it very easy to publish e-books with them. Oh, and now that I’ve been with them for long enough, I can confirm that their accounting, royalty reporting and payment practices are totally faultless.
As far as the independent author is concerned, there really is no other place to be. No other website offers the independent author the chance to actually make a living from being a writer - and literally within weeks of uploading self-published books. I know this to be true from my own experience.
Nine Quick Tips for Amazon Kindle Success
I won’t overly dwell on what you should do to achieve success quickly with Amazon. There are already many fine books and blogs on the subject. However, because my experience may be different, I will list what I believe is the utmost course to take with nine quick tips for Amazon Kindle success.
1. Write the very best manuscript you can, have it edited properly and ideally beta-read by other writers before putting it online. This will save you a lot of heartache and bad reviews in the long term.
2. Get a good cover. Don’t design it yourself. Use a graphic designer. Go to www.fiverr.com for a reasonably priced one.
3. Write your book description like it’s an old-fashioned sales page, use urgent, dramatic prose and insert a strong call to action.
4. Don’t forget to create an author bio with authorcentral.com Upload a good quality picture of yourself and make your resume light and fun.
5. Choose prices to maximize sales, not your profit. $2.99 is a good price for a Kindle book because you get 70% royalties and the buyer gets a good deal.
6. Choose your book categories and keywords with a view to maintaining a high chart position. Getting into an Amazon chart is your main concern. Once you’re there, the book sales will follow.
7. Exploit Kindle Countdown Deals whenever you can. They increase sales and keep you in the chart for longer.
8. Don’t overly focus on giving away free books. You have to give away an awful lot to make a sizable difference to your career. Plus, it’s recently been suggested that 99% of freeloaders don’t even read the books they download.
9. Don’t worry about getting reviews for your books. The difference they make is negligible, whether they’re good or bad. Besides which, the strongest sales period should occur before you have any reviews at all.
I realize much of the above advice goes against the prevailing hype. There again, it’s based on the experience of someone who actually sells lots of Kindle books - and not on the wishful thinking of those who’d probably like to.
Again, there’s so much information available on author self-promotion that it would be silly to simply repeat here what you can find elsewhere.
Suffice it to say that many online strategies for selling books don’t work very well. There, I said it. But clearly having an online presence can be advantageous and fun - if you like that kind of thing.
Writing a regular blog will keep you in the public eye, as will tweeting, but don’t expect a mountain of sales to eventuate. Social marketing is primarily about interaction and exposure and the opportunity to share time with other online social butterflies. Don’t make the mistake of believing that if only you could think of the right social marketing strategy then your success would be assured. It actually doesn’t work this way round. It is successful books that make you more appealing to social marketing participants. Hence, the very best way to achieve more success as an independent author is to write another book. Just releasing it will create far more buzz - and money - than any amount of online social marketing will ever do.