Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A new Kindle Scout campaign

I have new book entered in the Kindle Scout Program. Kindle Scout is Amazon's version of a talent contest. The book is called Turnabout. It's a YA/alternate world/dystopian story. I like to describe it as Jumper meets A Handmaid's Tale, but with the genders reversed.

The way Kindle Scout works, if the books gets enough nominations, Amazon will publish the Kindle version. If it doesn't win, I can, of course, still self-publish, but Amazon gives a lot more help to books it publishes than to self-published books. Either way, I plan to publish the paperback via CreatSpace (Amazon) and Barnes & Noble.

Here's what the print cover will look like

Cover by Alexander Von Ness


Check it out here, and feel free to share this link with anyone who might be interested. Hopefully, that's everyone you know!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Print vs ebook: Amazon Giveaways

I recently used an Amazon feature called "Hosting a giveaway." If you look at the product page of a book, below the reviews and just above the "What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?" section, you will see a link to create a giveaway.

Amazon offers this feature on a lot of items, not just books. Basically, whoever "hosts" the giveaway pays for the items, including delivery. It can be anyone, not just an author, but for books, it's usually hosted by the author. Until just about a year ago, you could give way print books but not Kindle books, but now it works for both formats.

Setting up a print giveaway

The set-up process lets the host determine number of prizes, odds of winning (e.g., 1 in 1000, 1 in 500,etc), and what users have to do to enter (e.g., watch a video, or follow the author's Amazon page).

The process also allows some control over who can share the link. If you want to give away copies a part of your own promotion, you might want to use this option to limit how the giveaway was accessed. On the other hand, if you just want more readers and hope for reviews, you would wanted wider distribution not narrower,

What you don't get is a way to contract the winners. You can see their Amazon user names, but not contract them. But Amazon handles picking the winners, so it's guaranteed to be fair.

I have run giveaways in the past, but this time Amazon had added a new button that let them distribute the link for you. It sounded good,so I went for it.

Based on prior experience, I set the odds at 1 in 150, and since it was for print books, I limited the prizes to two. I created my welcome message, my congrats to the winner (with a plea for a review), my sorry you lost message (with a reminder that I have another book free, in Kindle format), and clicked the button.

I was waiting for the email to tell me that the giveaway was live, so I could post the link. I never got it. The giveaway ended in 16 minutes. A total of 282 people entered and, of course, two of them won.   I was astounded.

The ebook giveaway

A couple weeks later, I tried a giveaway that was as identical as I could make it, but this time with the same title in Kindle format, and three copies as prizes. I used the button to make Amazon distribute the link, and since it was a test, I didn't mention the giveaway here or anywhere else until after I gave away two kindle copies. That took 18 hours!

Once the second copy was given away, I advertised the link but even then, the number of entrants slowed to a trickle. I will be curious to see if the third copy is claimed before the giveaway end date of March 15.

So it looks like, as a prize, a print book is still much more valuable than a Kindle book.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

E-Book Sale!

Read an eBook Week starts Sunday, March 5, 2017, and in honor of that Smashwords is running a huge promotion. A lot of ebooks are on sale, including mine.



 If you're not familiar with Smashwords, it's a site that allows authors to publish and sell their ebooks globally.  Authors can opt to also push their books out to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and a bunch of  other more well known book vendors, but those sites are not where the sale is happening. Smashwords itself sells directly to readers, allowing a choice of non-DRM'd books in a wide variety of formats, and that's where the sale is.

To promote ereading, Smashwords makes it easy for authors to put their books on sale, as they offer the use f coupon codes at checkout, and I've taken advantage of that. If you use the promotional coupon, you can buy any of my books this week only for half price (except for The Sixth Discipline, which is always free, and my fantasy novella Where Magic Rules, which is free this week only). .

Once you buy a book from Smashwords, you can download it, and read it on pretty much any device. If you have a Kindle, be sure to select that format (Mobi/Kindle), and download the file to a location on your PC where you can find it again. I have directions for putting Mobi files onto your Kindle here and here.

You can browse the sale page by genre to see what all they've got. Some books will be free and others really cheap.

Remember, all mine are either free or only $1.50, but you have to use the coupon code RAE50 for the non-free titles..