During my many days communicating with fellow writers around the world, I’ve heard all kinds of opinions about the pros and cons of signing up with Amazon Select. I don’t want to go into how, over the past year, Amazon has made it tougher and tougher for us indie stars to shine. That’s fodder for another post. I just want to talk about the Select that’s in place today and whether or not it can help us sell ebooks.
Far and away the biggest advantage of joining is that every ninety days Select writers get five free promotional days. Amazon suggests we use two at a time; and for the most part, I agree with them. I, personally, have had a few really good one-day promos that landed my books on the free top 100 list in the U.S. One time I had two on there.
Nevertheless, I’ve run far more two-day promos and that’s what I recommend. I’ve found that late in the second day my rankings almost always begin to fall. There might be
exceptions, but just as there are to every rule, they’re few and far between.
I’ve heard it before and I can hear a few of your thoughts now—“I’m not giving my babies away! I worked far too hard on my books, and they’re too darn good to give away.” Well, the few people I’ve heard say that weren’t selling a whole lot of books.
This writing racket is an extremely difficult one to break into. If you haven’t roped one of the big-six publishers or another that has deep pockets, the odds against you are immense. And while we’re talking about immense, keep in mind that Amazon’s reading audience is huge as well. An author can have dozens of free promos for a single book—give away five, ten, twenty-thousand or more free Kindles each time, and he or she still won’t scratch Ammy’s reading surface.
It’s a well know fact that a very, very small percentage of free downloaders will ever actually read your book. I’ve heard it guesstimated at one to two percent. Just as an example, let’s say you ran a freebie promo, did well, and had 20,000 books snatched up. Even if as many as five percent eventually read your book, that’s only one thousand ebooks. Amazon has millions of customers!
And keep in mind, even if only a hundred people read and liked your book, there’s a good chance they will be checking your Author page or searching your name on Amazon to see what else you’ve written. I think this a benefit that many writers overlook–most readers put their new downloads on a que. They don’t actually get around to reading them for quite some time. You’re sowing seeds for sales with your free promos. You’re cultivating a crop of potential buyers that will keep popping up–for quite some time.
Now…think about what could happen if you ran ten reasonably successful promos over the course of a year. Each time you’re planting more seeds! And that’s not to mention the
immediate satisfaction you can reap when two, three or more days of very good sales follow a successful free promo.
Yes, like I said here earlier, Amazon isn’t treating us nearly as good as they did last winter. But they are still the biggest bookseller in the world, and that world, rough as it is, is there for us to conquer.
If there is a better way of promoting our books (without spending a small fortune) rather than “giving them away” on Amazon Select, I’d sure like to know what it is.