Selling Kindle Books – Tips for Authors

These ‘Selling Your Book in the Kindle Store’ tips stem from a review of strategies self-published authors are using successfully in the Kindle Store

  1. This is a study of successful strategies, not personal experience. 
  2. Correlation does not imply causation i.e. just because 90% of successful self-published authors have blogs does not mean that having a blog causes success. 
  3. This is a partial list.

That being said, these tips will increase your chance of success.

Selling Kindle Books – Pick a Role Model and learn

great list of authors that self-published. The Kindle Store gives you a better opportunity than any of them had.

Self-published authors that are succeding in the Kindle Store include –  

  1. Stacey Cochran. 
  2. Boyd Morrison. 
  3. J. A. Konrath. 
  4. Dennis Batchelder
  5. John August

Use Google and Bing liberally and explore their blogs, the sites they’ve joined, and the networks they’re using. Also, read their books and compare the quality of writing.

Selling Kindle Books – Sell Your book for $1

$1 or $2 – Those are the only prices that are working.

There are a few reasons a $1 price is critical -

  1. It makes the purchase a no-brainer.
  2. You’re competing with established authors so you have to compete on price.
  3. Even established publishing houses are giving away past books or the first book in a series for free.

Its also a filter – it implies humility, it filters out people trying to turn a quick profit, and it tells people you are focused on your work and spreading it, rather than making money.

Selling your Book in the Kindle Store – The first 10 reviews

The first few reviews you get will set the tone -

  1. Every prospective buyer will read them before making a purchase decision.

You’ve probably put 6-12 months of your life into the book. The first few reviews decide whether people even give it a chance.

How do you get those first few great reviews?

Its a combination of  -

  1. Having a great book.
  2. Telling a compelling personal story (via your online presence).
  3. Doing intelligent marketing.

Having a Great Book

Everything flows from this

  1. The better your book, the better the reviews. 
  2. The better the reviews the more people will try it out.
  3. The better the reviews and sales the more bloggers and people will be inclined to write about it.  
  4. A really well written book will generate lots of word of mouth.

Having a really, really good book makes everything else easier.

Have an online presence that tells your story

 This is a big area for most self-published authors to improve on. All things being equal (or not quite equal) we as humans are inclined to pick authors who -

  1. We Like. This is hugely important.
  2. We can relate to i.e. there are some similarities. 
  3. Have a compelling personal story. 
  4. We feel deserve to succeed.  

Look at this example from Boyd Morrison’s site -

My wife and I have a unique agreement. After we had been married for three years, she decided to attend medical school, but having earned an English degree in college, she needed two years for her pre-med requirements. So that meant nine years of pre-med, med school, and residency, during which time I was the wage-earner with a full-time job, unable to spend much time on my passion, writing fiction.

Read all of it. All of us have that compelling personal story – the reason why we’re passionate about what we do (and if you’re not why do it?). So put it out there.

You have to -

  1. Maintain a blog where people can read your story and updates. 
  2. Participate on forums and social networks (official Amazon Forums, Good Reads, etc.).  
  3. Contact bloggers and reporters and site owners and ask for help. The problem most sites and blogs face is a lack of good content – they’ll usually be glad to have a guest post or to feature you.

However, you have to do all of this intelligently.

Selling Your Book in the Kindle Store – Intelligent Marketing

What are successful authors doing?

  1. Running and maintaining a blog.
  2. Offering their books for free on their blogs.
  3. Offering them for $1-$2 in the Kindle Store.
  4. Informing people in amazon’s kindle forum – Stick to posts devoted for this purpose (like this independent author thread).
  5. Promoting the book in other forums (includes tips from Boyd Morrison).
  6. Joining social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and book social networks like GoodReads, LibraryThing.  
  7. Participating in kindle specific forums (mobileread, kindle korner).

Independent authors are getting to reach end-customers directly and get a fair chance. Readers are getting a chance to decide what succeeds.

Its a win-win situation – and both parties should appreciate it. Appreciating it makes you likelier to succeed.

You have to understand that Kindle Owners Want Independent Authors to succeed

Who would you rather support?

  1. An independent author. OR
  2. A Publisher that wants to turn off Read To Me, charge you higher prices for Kindle books, decide for you what you should read.

There’s a lot of incentive for kindle owners to support good independent authors and decide what books get encouraged. Its literally ‘build up your favourite authors’ from the ground up – an American Idol for book lovers.

Always keep this in mind – The readers are on your side.

Closing Thoughts on Selling Your Book in the Kindle Store

You’ll notice two threads running throughout the tips -

  1. The first – how good is your book?
  2. The second – how passionate are you about your book and about writing?

If you look at the amount of effort that is needed – writing, polishing your book, maintaining your blog, participating in forums, contacting people – it doesn’t make sense unless this is what you really, really want to do with your life.

If it is, and you’re putting in the work, then the Kindle Store is a great fit and Kindle Owners will give you a fair chance.

3 Responses

  1. I have a few questions before I jump into this Kindle thing. First, out of the thousands of newbies who have stuff in the Kindle Store, how many have actually made enough money to at least pay for the electricity that ran their computers? Second, once you have something in the store, how many friends and family members do you need to send in “rave” reviews? Third, do you have to make visible your blog’s hit counter so those who only like bandwagons can hop on?

    And a fourth: Has anyone had success by just putting their stuff on their blogs and asking for donations? Considering the “iffy” nature of this whole business, begging seems to have as good a chance of success as anything.

  2. check out j a konrath’s blog. this post in particular – http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/06/amazon-kindle-numbers.html

    I’d recommend going to kindle forums and other forums and posting about your book in the threads already set up for that purpose.

    that’s how you should get your reviews.

    donations – don’t know. i do know that very few coders ever make enough from donations on free software.

    • switch11:

      Thanks for the prompt reply.

      I’m no coder so that solves one issue.

      I did read J. A. Konrath’s post. I found it a positive note and am glad to read Kindle’s not the literary version of a real estate seminar. I’ll look around a bit more and see what I see.

      Cheers

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