Amazon Bitch – the results

Amaazon author page - crpdAmazon.com Author Page   Amazon.co.uk Author Page

In October 2014 here on my blog, I produced two posts related to self-publishing, and my experiences. For those of you like me who have an aversion to percentages and targets in their private life – I am not intending to give figures, only a general overview.

For the benefit of those who didn’t see the posts, and to refresh the memories of those who were kind enough to read them, I will summarise both posts before I go on.

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Amazon Bitch – Part 1 of 2
I related a brief history of my self-publishing experience on various platforms. It couldn’t help but be brief, because I’ve only been on the scene since 2012.

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Amazon Bitch – Part 2 of 2
My second post of the pair was aimed at sharing ten personal tips to aid success in the world of self-publishing. Prior to making my list I did not refer to the other zillion posts on the Internet with ten tips for success. My wish was to focus on what I knew.
In closing the second post I suggested that I would return with an update if my figures reached a healthy level. For ‘healthy’ in the world of self-publishing, read ‘breathing unaided’.

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It was as we entered November 2014 that I reached a point where my novels, short story anthologies and poetry anthologies were all published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Having freed myself from other publishers I enrolled all of my work on Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select), and in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).

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At this point I’d like to bring up something that may have been overlooked, or misunderstood by some authors. The Amazon Terms and Conditions for publishers are long-winded and detailed, so before you tick all the little boxes and publish all over the place, spend a while reading their terms. If you transgress and you are found out, you could come unstuck. As a guide, it took me 30 minutes to read the terms and conditions.

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Okay, let’s get back on track. By November 2014, I had all of my books published on Amazon and I submitted myself completely. One of my fantasies has always been to submit myself to an Amazon. In this case it was to give my books a chance.

By enrolling on KDP Select my books gained me more royalties, and on KOLL, to buy or borrow was the reader’s choice.
Within a week my novels were being borrowed, which means I was getting royalties from readers who might go on to borrow more of my titles, if they enjoyed the first one.

It should be considered too, that if we humans feel the need to offer our opinion, we do, so that old advertising ploy, ‘word of mouth’ comes into play.

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By the end of November I saw an increase in sales on all of my novels and a regular trickle of borrowing across my entire portfolio – yes, including my poetry series. Really!
In order to stimulate sales, I tried the option of giving away a book for a day. If you want to see a spike in your Amazon sales graph, give a book away for a day and tell Twitter and a couple of Facebook groups. I’ve now employed that tactic a couple of times and it works.

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How does it work for the author by giving away a book?
It works for this author, because at the back of all of my books I have a list of my other titles and each has a brief synopsis.

Looking at my figures from early November 2014 to the end of January 2015, I’m pretty confident that I’m gaining repeat business from readers.

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Does it work being an Amazon bitch?
Personally, I believe it works for me. I have no connection to any of the other publishers and I don’t sell my books from my author website. There is absolutely no chance of me breaking any rules because I’ve affiliated myself to one publishing house.
I don’t conduct a daily sales check, because that would drive me insane, but I do check my sales weekly, and against the marketing ideas I try on a particular date.
The Books page on my author website offers links to both main Amazon websites to buy my work and I think that’s working for me. We reap what we sow, especially in self-publishing, and I take nothing for granted.

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I hope as always that at least some of this has been of benefit to my peers out there. If you are a novice at the self-publishing business and you haven’t read the two posts mentioned in my intro, please consider checking them out – my points are for the benefit of all of us. atasteofhoney(1)

A Taste of Honey was not included in my previous posts, due to it being published in December 2014.

The good news is that sales are climbing and reviews are favourable.
Thank you for taking the time to consume my thoughts. All feedback is welcome.

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Amazon Bitch – Part 1 of 2

Yes, I’m coming out as an Amazon Bitch.

Ten Days in Panama - the cover 2904

Apart from reading conventional books, as a Kindle user it was logical for me to self-publish on Amazon when I eventually took the plunge.

I published Ten Days in Panama in November 2012, happy to leave it and get on with other projects. Sales were occasional and single figures inside any given month.

I published Beyond The Law in October 2013 and it made sales quite fast, comparatively speaking. It also reached double figures in one month before I made any effort to ‘promote’ it on social media. Beyond The Law - the cover 2904

In both cases I enrolled in the KDP Select (KDPS), and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). I figured that a little bit of extra publicity would be good, even if it meant that some folk might borrow my hard work, instead of buying it.

My sales increased a little – for three reasons.
1.  I had more than one book on the system. The more titles you have out there, the better.
2.  I was making an occasional sale to far off lands like Japan and India, and I saw my books being sold, and occasionally borrowed.
3.  I increased my social platform, which in my case meant going on Twitter and Facebook more often than twice per month – and I joined a couple of Facebook groups.

I tend to work on more than one project on an ongoing basis, so May and June of 2014 saw publication of my two short story anthologies, which were rapidly followed by my third novel, Amsterdam Calling in July 2014. I didn’t enrol any of these on the KDPS or KOLL schemes.
Amsterdam Calling - the cover 260714

In July 2014, I allowed my 90 days to expire on my first two novels, so I was free to publish elsewhere. I published all of my work on Kobo and also on Smashwords. During 2013 – 2014 I published my five-book series of poetry anthologies and they increased my profile.

Bang up to date and by mid-October 2014, I had not sold a single copy of anything on Kobo. The books sold on Smashwords only just made it to double figures. Neither of those sites has worked for me. Over the same period I’ve watched sales of my novels increase steadily on Amazon, but the reasons I will relate in the second part of this tale.

With effect from 21st October 2014, I have unpublished from both Kobo and Smashwords. As soon as I had confirmation, I went to my Amazon bookshelf and enrolled my full collection on both KDPS and KOLL.
In the next post I’ll talk about how to increase sales, in my humble opinion.
Thank you for reading and any comments.

See you at the weekend for Part 2.