CHILDREN’S BOOKS IN KINDLE UNLIMITED
Now that Kindle Unlimited is paying KDP Select books based on the number of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read, children’s books—especially illustrated kids’ books—appear to be among those most affected.
Illustrated children’s authors with books enrolled in KDP Select basically have three options:
- Opt your illustrated children’s books out of KDP Select. (Uncheck the automatic renewal box. Wait until the 90-day period has expired. Now you can publish elsewhere. But beware that not all other e-book platforms are equally picture-friendly. You might want to do some research and formatting before you decide to make the switch.)
- Leave your books enrolled in KDP Select, and either complain about the change or feel frustrated without complaining—or try your best to ignore it—or hope that your book will be engaging enough to help get more pages read. (You probably don’t want to complain publicly in such a way that it may hurt your brand among your potential audience. Sending a polite suggestion to Amazon KDP or organizing a petition are private ways to express your opinion and try to instigate a little change.)
- Leave your books enrolled in KDP Select, and find ways to make the most of the new program.
For those who choose option three, I have a few ideas that may help. Maybe my suggestions will inspire yet another idea of your own.
HOW TO GET MORE USE OUT OF YOUR PICTURES
This is something I saw in some books before Kindle Unlimited changed, but the idea has even greater value now.
A couple of Kindle Unlimited books that I borrowed for my daughter found a creative way to get more mileage out of the pictures.
It has marketing potential, and also helps with the new KENP read policy.
The idea is simple: Show how the pictures were made.
It’s easy to do: When you create your images—or when your illustrator makes your images—take pictures of those images to show the stages in which they are made.
Here’s what you do with them: Add them to the end of your book, showing one step at a time how to draw the pictures. You can add a little text, too, describing the process.
It’s a win-win-win situation:
- Kids to get read a book and learn how to draw pictures.
- Parents get added value in that their kids practice reading and learn drawing skills.
- Authors benefit by adding several extra pages to their Kindle e-books.
It’s not just stuffing pages at the end of the book. These pages offer valuable content—showing how to draw pictures—which potentially adds to reader engagement.
More pages read means a greater royalty earned through Kindle Unlimited.
HOW TO ADD ENGAGING CONTENT TO YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOK
Here is another way to add engaging content to your children’s book.
How do parents know if their children paid attention or understood the story?
A few multiple choice questions following each story could help parents assess reading comprehension. They can check their answers if you use a footnote or endnote for the answer key.
You can also add a vocabulary key after the story to review important terms, or test if kids can figure out the meaning from the context.
There are all kinds of ways that you can add questions or exercises to add educational value to your entertaining stories. This might help differentiate your KDP self-published book from similar traditionally published books that only have stories.
BUNDLING CHILDREN’S BOOKS TOGETHER
Bundling doesn’t help by simply adding pages. Those extra pages are more work, and only pay if the pages are read.
Furthermore, whether you write one 200-page book or eight 25-page books, either way you write 200 pages—and if a customer reads all 200 pages, you get paid the same whether they are bundled or not.
But where bundling can help is with (A) convenience and (B) perceived value.
It’s more convenient to read another story when it’s already in the same book. It’s inconvenient to have to return to the Kindle Store to buy the author’s next book.
If your stories are engaging, you’re more likely to get your next story read if the customer doesn’t have to find your other book.
Kindle Unlimited customers also see more value in downloading a collection than borrowing one short story.
The bundle may even help with sales, if there is a discount compared to buying the individual titles.
I would sell both the individual titles and the bundle. It gives you more exposure. The individual titles are more likely to be discovered in searches on Amazon, as you can customize 2 categories and 7 keywords for each individual title. Once they click on your author name, customers can then discover your bundle.
You can also mention your bundle after the story in your individual books. If they liked the story, maybe they will try your bundle.
But note this:
- If your bundle is in KDP Select, your individual titles must be exclusive to Amazon.
- If your individual titles are in KDP Select, the bundle must also be exclusive to Amazon.
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
Copyright © 2015
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
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- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
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Great ideas Chris. I just published my first children’s book and enrolled in Unlimited. So far not much has come of it. I may take a couple of these ideas into consideration for future installments.
I hope they help. Good luck with your book.
From speaking with successful children’s authors, I know that many sell primarily print books, market to local stores and libraries, interact with teachers, parents, and grandparents, and have published several similar books. It’s not an easy market to crack, but the are common traits among those who have.
Right now I’m just happy to have finished a book and took the plunge by putting it out there. It’s a lot of fun to write a story you enjoy. I plan to eventually make my rounds to the schools, libraries and such with the printed edition just to see what comes of it. Thanks
Some really useful ideas here, Chris!
Thank you, Ali. 🙂
What great ideas! Thanks, Chris.
You’re welcome. 🙂
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
Some great ideas in this post by Chris McMullen 👍
Thank you, Chris. 🙂
Welcome Chris – great advice 😃
Great tips, as always. I’m particularly fond of the “how to” idea. I’ll check with my illustrator whether he has kept the drafts from Runaway Smile, as he had suggested something similar (only, for my blog).
Interestingly enough, Smile is my second most popular book with KU. I know this, because I use an Android app called Afterword, that gives you a monthly report on Amazon sales, breaking them down for each book individually.
Smiles are a good thing. 🙂
Thanks, Chris! Sharing… 🙂
You’re welcome, & thank you. 🙂
Wonderful post. Great tips.
Thank you. 🙂
I wonder if the new system counts books that are read multiple time, as tends to be the case with children’s books?
We have been told that it doesn’t…