I have been promoting my book BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY for a little over a year now and I’ve tried everything under the moon to boost sales and get the word out about my book. The thing is, it’s really hard to compete with the hundreds of traditionally published books with millions of advertising dollars behind them. I’m not complaining, this is the just the nature of the game at the moment.
Yes, there are anomalies that have emerged and multi-million dollar books have come out of kindle sales, but you see it’s just that. 100% of successful self-published books rose out of the indie slush pile through the kindle.
As an indie author, I really wanted to try and spread my book as far and wide as possible. I put my book up on Kindle for the first 90 days and sold about 80 books through the free promotion, and then I made the mistake of pulling my book from the KDP program so that I could have my book listed on the Nook, iBooks, Kobo, etc. I shouldn’t have done that.
The thing that kills me is there were signs/red flags everywhere telling me as much. Every statistic and indie book blog reiterated the same thing: 99% of sales happen through the kindle and about 1% is sold everywhere else. After reading that for the hundredth time, a light should’ve gone off in my head telling me “Focus your sales on Amazon,” but of course my desire to appear everywhere (as most prolific writer’s do) took over and I spent the past year advertising my book through every imaginable outlet that ultimately the campaign reached only a select few.
I had placed ads on Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads, and Goodreads and no to avail. Sure, I sold some books but it was at a very heavily discounted price AND they resulted in NO REVIEWS, which in all likelihood means that the vast majority of people who download “free or discounted” books don’t necessarily read them. It was only when I learned that I could advertise on the Kindle that I went to check it out and found that, low and behold, the Kindle does have a natural selection process (KDP Select), which my book was not eligible for.
Why wasn’t it eligible? Well, Amazon is smart. As a business, they want to monopolize the e-book world, and if the stats above are any indication, they’re doing a pretty good job. So they will help move your book, IF AND ONLY IF, you sign with them exclusively. Now, if Nook, iBbooks, Kobo, and Google Play were smart they’d offer up something similar and entice indie authors away from Kindle’s exclusive deal. But they don’t. I’m guessing because they don’t care, or they’ve thrown in the towel and admitted defeat to the almighty Kindle.
Now, being able to advertise on the Kindle doesn’t mean that I’m going to be an overnight success, but at least Kindle algorithms allow for direct marketing and if readers seem to like your book, Kindle also hand selects titles like “The Martian” to promote for free. It’s still a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, because of the sheer amount of e-books being published now, but there is hope.
I’m also pretty sure that there are benefits to having Createspace do your paperback books, but the quality of the print is so much worse than IngramSpark that I’m having a hard time justifying that switch.