Wow: Kindle Unlimited Clears Half a Penny per Page (December, 2017)

KINDLE UNLIMITED UPDATE FOR DECEMBER, 2017

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate finished 2017 with a Bang, paying over $0.005 per page read ($0.00506394 to be precise).

The per-page rate has climbed above half a penny per-page a few times in the past, but usually it is under $0.005.

Part of the explanation appears to be KENPC v3.0. Amazon KDP introduced the new KENPC calculation when the per-page rate had dropped to the low $0.004’s in July. The per-page rate has climbed steadily ever since.

Part of the explanation may also be that December is a very busy holiday sales month.

The KDP Select Global Fund also increased to $19.9 million. While the KDP Select Global Fund has consistently increased over the life of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, what’s different now is that for five months the per-page rate and global fund have both increased together. It’s a nice trend.

While it’s nice to see the per-page rate and global fund both rising, be prepared. The per-page rate is generally a bit of a roller coaster ride, and when it peaks above $0.005 per page, it may not last long. Be prepared in case it dips back below $0.005 per page, but be hopeful that it stays above $0.005.

The global fund tends to climb over time (with only an occasional exception), but history suggests that the per-page rate won’t continue to climb forever (though I’d love to see it prove me wrong).

Enjoy it while it lasts, hope it continues, and realize that it has been fairly stable in its oscillation between $0.004 and $0.005 ever since the per-page concept was introduced.

Really, neither the per-page rate nor the global fund are the points to worry about.

The trick is to get more people to read more of your books. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

Chris McMullen

How to Add X-Ray to Your Kindle eBook

X-ray picture licensed from ShutterStock.

X-RAY FOR KINDLE

Authors can add X-ray to their Kindle eBooks via KDP.

Here is how to do it:

  • Visit Kindle Direct Publishing at kdp.amazon.com.
  • After you login, visit your KDP Bookshelf.
  • Hover your cursor over the gray button with three dots (…) near the right of one of your book titles.
  • If available, you will see an option to Launch X-Ray. Click this link.
  • This will open the X-Ray page for your Kindle eBook, but you won’t be able to do anything yet.
  • Click the yellow button to Request X-Ray. The window will automatically close 20 seconds later and return you to your Bookshelf.
  • You should receive an email once X-Ray is prepared for your Kindle eBook. Although it says it can take a few hours, my emails came within minutes.
  • Now you need to return to your KDP Bookshelf and Launch X-Ray again with the gray (…) button. This time you will be able to do something.
  • I recommend the yellow Begin Tutorial button. It’s very quick and pretty effective.
  • Select the items on the left one at a time. If the item is irrelevant or you just don’t want it to show to readers, click No for the first question and it will be excluded. I had to do this for some terms because a few of the terms were not related to my book, but most of the terms were relevant.
  • Each item must be a character (like Harry Potter) or a term (like astrophysics). Check one.
  • Tip: Click the number of occurrences link and it will show you the terms in context. It’s pretty cool and can help you decide if it’s worth displaying to readers.
  • Either write a custom description or choose a relevant Wikipedia article. For many standard terms, it will automatically select a Wikipedia article. Beware that the article might not be a good fit for the term. It’s up to you to read the article to make sure, or select a different article (or instead enter your own custom text).
  • Click the button at the bottom so that it says Item Reviewed if you wish to keep it. Otherwise, select No for the first question. If it doesn’t say Item Reviewed, the changes won’t be published.
  • Sometimes, you may have a few terms linked together for the same item. In this case, if you click Remove, it won’t actually delete the term. What Remove does is separate the term to be its own item (you can find it somewhere on the list at the left, sometimes far from the other item). I had to do this for a few items.
  • Think: Are there any terms or characters that you would like to add which weren’t automatically included? If so, click the Add New Item link at the top of the list on the left. You won’t be able to see occurrences (or know how many there are) until you publish the changes (though once you publish the changes and they finally go live—it didn’t take too long for me, just a few minutes, but it can be longer—then you will be able to see the occurrences).
  • There may be a few standard terms for which you can’t click the button to say Item Reviewed. This happened to me with Albert Einstein, for example. If that happens, don’t worry. It will be included automatically. If you don’t want it included, click No for the first question (as with any other items that you don’t want displayed to readers).
  • MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Click the yellow button at the top right corner to Review and Publish X-Ray. Otherwise, all your effort will be wasted.
  • You should receive an email when the changes go live.
  • After I received my email (it only took minutes for me, but it can take longer), I opened my book on my Kindle Fire HD, and X-Ray was already enabled (even though I had purchased the book months ago, but only enabled X-Ray minutes ago—indeed, it already had definitions that I had just typed). Below I will describe a bit how it works. The picture below shows X-Ray in action.

First, I checked my product page. I scrolled down to Product Details, where I found X-Ray: Enabled. Click the little arrow next to Enabled to see which devices support X-Ray (there is also an elaborate list on one of the KDP help pages that I link to later in this article).

On my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, when the book is open and the menu ribbon shows at the top of the screen, I see a little rectangle with an X, which is the X-Ray icon. When I click on that X-Ray icon, it opens a page with Notable Clips, People, and Terms. Click either People or Terms. I selected Terms.

One of my terms was Solar System. There were 52 mentions. I clicked on this item on the list. It doesn’t show me the text that I typed for Solar System (not yet). This just shows the paragraph in my book that mentioned that instance of Solar System. I clicked the link called Go to Loc 34 (the number will vary) in the bottom left corner. This brings me to that actual location in my book. Now on my touchscreen device, I placed my thumb on the first S of Solar, held my thumb down for a moment, and rubbed my thumb across the screen to the M in System. This highlighted the term Solar System, and the X-Ray window popped up, showing me the definition that I had typed for it in KDP. You can see it in the picture above. (You can’t see the highlighted term. I had to zoom in or you wouldn’t be able to see the X-Ray text well.)

The picture above shows how the X-Ray tool looks after you access it from your KDP Bookshelf.

Learn more about X-Ray for authors via the following KDP help page:

X-Ray for Authors

Also see the X-Ray Tips and Tricks page at KDP:

X-Ray Tips and Tricks

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2018

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Amazon’s Choice

AMAZON RECOMMENDS

For several months now, I’ve seen the Amazon’s Choice label beside select products in search results at Amazon.

So far, I haven’t seen it for book results. For example, I just searched for dictionary, but none were Amazon’s Choice.

Evidently, for the time being, it is just for certain types of products, which doesn’t include books.

Specifically, it appears to be for common everyday items.

As an example, when I searched for toothbrush, one of the top results was labeled as Amazon’s Choice (see the picture for this post).

HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PRODUCT LABELED AS AMAZON’S CHOICE?

According to Amazon’s Seller Central discussions, sellers can’t request this.

Rather, Amazon selects their “choice” based on ratings (not the same thing as reviews), price (“well-priced” products), and Prime shipping.

When you proceed to leave a product review, in addition to rating the product, you sometimes get the chance to rate it based on other criteria.

For example, if you leave a customer review for a pair of pants, you may be able to rate “How does the product fit?”

So if Amazon has data on other types of ratings for a product, it’s possible that the product rating (the stars left with reviews) may not be the only rating to make a difference.

FEATURED PRODUCTS

Obviously, having a product labeled as Amazon’s Choice is a huge advantage.

But it’s not the only way that products get featured on Amazon.

Being the bestseller in a category or subcategory also gets a product featured in search results (even for books).

The Bestseller label that appears in search results is just as prominent as the Amazon’s Choice label.

The Amazon’s Choice label says, “Amazon recommends this product.”

The Bestseller product says, “Customers prefer this product.”

Even the “small guys” can get featured in a variety of ways.

On most product pages, you can find “Customers Also Bought” lists.

When you purchase a product, you find other product recommendations.

In general, Amazon recommends products (via Customers Also Bought lists, for example) that have good ratings, are priced “well” (not necessarily the cheapest, but affordable may help), have a proven track record of organic sales (as opposed to referrals from external websites), and have a history of customer satisfaction (Amazon tracks customer satisfaction metrics, a point that is made clear in the Seller Central help pages).

ADVANTAGE, YES; BUT IT ISN’T EVERYTHING

Obviously, not every customer will go with Amazon’s Choice.

It’s certainly a big advantage for a product to be featured on Amazon (whether it’s Amazon’s Choice, a Customers Also Bought list, or some other way).

But it’s not the only criteria.

In fact, on several occasions I have discovered products that were Amazon’s Choice, but which weren’t the Bestseller in their category.

It is possible for similar products to compete with Amazon’s Choice, at least to a degree.

Sometimes, customers purchase many similar items at once.

I sometimes wind up purchasing Amazon’s Choice, but I sometimes prefer a different product.

I’m a customer who tends to take my time making a decision.

I like to look at a variety of products, then give my favorites a closer inspection.

One thing I like about Amazon’s Choice is that I trust Amazon more than a review left by someone I don’t know.

I still read some reviews to get an idea for the kinds of things that have appealed (or not appealed) to other customers.

But all other things being equal, I’m more apt to trust Amazon’s Choice.

The good news for other sellers is that very often, all other things aren’t equal.

Sometimes another product has a feature that I’m looking for. Sometimes another design appeals to me more.

There are many different factors that go into buying decisions. Amazon’s Choice, though it is prominently placed, is just one factor.

YOUR CHOICE

It’s ultimately your decision.

It’s interesting to compare perspectives.

Do you like Amazon’s Choice as a customer? If you were selling a product on Amazon, how would you feel about it?

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2018

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Hope, Fear, and… Shopping for Books at Amazon

SHOPPING AT AMAZON

When browsing for a book (or other product) at Amazon, it’s amazing how much hope, fear, and other emotions factor into the shopping experience.

Whether you’re a customer, an author, or an Amazon seller, it may be worthwhile to take a moment to try to understand the psychology of Amazon sales.

Imagine yourself staring at a book detail page at Amazon.com, considering a book that caught your attention.

There are two types of criteria that may influence whether or not you purchase the book:

  • You may apply logical reasoning.
  • You may be influenced by your emotions.

For most customers, both aspects may factor into the purchase decision. Some customers generally rely much more on one aspect than the other.

It may not even be a conscious decision. Many people are influenced by emotional responses without even realizing it. Sometimes the emotional aspect is subtle. Sometimes it may impact us on a subconscious level.

Also, note that logical reasoning can’t decide everything. Sometimes, after a person who relies heavily on logic applies logic as far as he (or she) can take it, the person still isn’t sure. In that case, the person might use some emotional aspect to break the tie (or flip a coin).

If you’re a customer, you might learn to make wiser buying decisions by trying to understand how various aspects of the product page may influence you emotionally.

If you’re an author or an Amazon seller, you may wish to better understand how sales psychology may benefit you both short-term and long-term. (Note that what benefits you in the short-term may hurt in the long-term. They don’t always go hand in hand.)

A LITTLE SALES PSYCHOLOGY

Let’s break down an Amazon product page, considering how each element may influence a customer’s buying decision.

  • Book cover (or product photo). This may send a strong visual signal, but may also suggest subtle emotional responses. You might think that the main message should be “Look at me,” but it’s actually better for the signal to be “Wow, that looks appealing.” An effective image does more than this: the subtler messages can carry influence. A picture can send a “positive” signal, inspiring the customer be in a better emotional state. A picture can have a “professional” tone. It can strive to earn “trust.” It can say “I look like the type of product you’re looking for.”
  • Reviews. Many reviews (both good and bad) carry marketing influence. Good reviews play on customers’ hopes, while critical reviews play on customers’ fears. Most of the time, it isn’t intentional, but of course there are both good and bad reviews that have been written with the intent of playing on hopes or fears. As a customer, it’s a challenge to glean helpful information from reviews without being influenced on an emotional level. As an author or Amazon seller, you must consider that many customers are skeptical to some extent about customer reviews. One possible fear is that the seller recruited reviews, so if the first 20 reviews are all glowing and the last 10 reviews are mostly bad, that by itself may act to “confirm” a customer’s fear that the seller recruited good reviews for a not-so-good product. In addition to customer reviews, there may be quotes from editorial reviews, and there may be review quotes in the description or Look Inside. There is another important aspect of reviews: If a product page plays on customer hopes by making a product seem better than it actually is, customer reviews help to offset this marketing tactic. Reviews are a strong reason that all authors and sellers should focus on long-term success (writing a great book or delivering a great product helps to get favorable reviews in the long run).
  • Description. Marketing copy is one of the most challenging forms of writing—and the proof of its effectiveness isn’t when several people tell you how impressed they are with what you wrote, but in what percentage of customers who read it proceed to purchase the product. An effective product description must be concise because most customers won’t read a long description in full (and if the description is long, most customers won’t even bother to click the Read More link to see the remainder of it). The few sentences that customers can see before the Read More link appears is valuable real estate: There is so much an author or seller needs to accomplish with a minimum of words. In terms of marketing influence, sellers want to create “customer engagement,” “arouse curiosity,” “inspire interest,” and perhaps even “create a sense of urgency” (but you’re not supposed to mention limited-time offers or pricing here). But the description also needs to provide valuable information about what to expect from the book (or other product). It may also need to create a sense of professionalism and trust. It needs to help create appeal. On top of that, the words need to flow well, be a good fit for expectations, and avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. There is one thing that a description shouldn’t do: It shouldn’t give the story away.
  • Title. Even the title can carry emotional influence. Have you ever read a title that had a little jingle that you got a kick out of, maybe put you in a good mood? The title needs to reinforce the visual message that the book cover (or product phot) sends. With fiction books, very short titles tend to be more effective (1 to 3 words). That’s partly because the eye is drawn to a short title in search results, and partly because many customers just look at the first few words when looking at search results. A title can help to create appeal (or just the opposite). Appeal is an important criteria, since appeal helps to put the customer in a happier state when making a purchase decision.
  • Look Inside. This can be the most valuable real estate on the product page. The customer must already be interested in order to be looking inside. This means that every other aspect of the product page has done its job: Now it’s up to the Look Inside to close the deal. The Look Inside has one important job to do: It just needs to send the message, “This book is everything you hoped it would be—based on the cover, description, title, and reviews—and MORE.” If it sends that message, the customer will almost certainly Buy Now. (But again, if the rest of the book doesn’t live up to the expectations created by the Look Inside, this will be exposed in customer reviews, and fewer customers will Look Inside in the future.) The Look Inside contains visual elements and writing, both of which need to help deliver the right messages. As with the description, the Look Inside must engage the customer and arouse curiosity (but without giving the story away), and like the book cover, the Look Inside needs to send the right visual signals.
  • Bio. A biography (or about me) section is a chance to demonstrate expertise or knowledgeability, but it’s also a chance to show humanity, individuality, and professionalism. For authors, if you can write an interesting biography, that bodes well for having written an interesting story (since very often readers aren’t interested in biographies). A picture that accompanies the biography offers another opportunity to send the right visual message.
  • Colors. There is even a psychology for interpreting colors. For example, a good cover designer selects a color scheme that is appropriate for the subject matter or story. Certain colors are better for attracting males or females, some colors work better for romance while others work better for mystery, some colors suggest professionalism, and some colors convey emotions (like happy or sad). Amazon uses color in text labels, prices, stars, buttons, and other elements of a product page. The prices are in red, which not only stands out well against a white background but may aid in creating a buying impulse (many stores use red for one of these two reasons: let’s assume they are using it for contrast and to catch attention, and if it happens to help a little to create a buying impulse, it’s just a happy bonus for the store).

We humans don’t always make the best decisions. Even humans who spend their lives solving very difficult problems quite skillfully can be prone to making a stupid everyday decision.

If humans tended to be better decision-makers, a lot of successful talk-show hosts would be out of business!

So when you’re shopping for a product, try to think about how you might make a wiser purchase decision. Try to think of which factors may be trying to influence you emotionally. Try to force yourself to rely somewhat more on logical reasoning and somewhat less on emotions.

Or forget it… just act impulsively and enjoy the splurge. You know you want to. 😉

If you’re an author or Amazon seller, try to think about how your Amazon product pages might influence customers emotionally. Don’t try to think of ways that you might take advantage of this in the short run because such ploys tend to backfire in the long run (killing sales later): For example, if the product page plays on the customer’s hope that it’s the most amazing product ever, disappointed customers will post critical reviews (which will play on future customers’ fears) and will return the product (and Amazon uses customer satisfaction metrics in its algorithms).

So you don’t want to oversell a product, making it seem way better than it is. But you do want to make it sound as good as it is. If it does deliver on customer hopes, the product page should show this.

You can also think about how your product page delivers both visually and in words important messages, such as “professional,” “positive,” “trust,” “expertise,” “creative,” or a particular subject matter or topic (like “romance” or “country”).

What is your customer hoping to get from your product? Among these hopes, what does your product actually deliver? You want to show the customer that your product delivers on the right hopes, and you want to disclose when it doesn’t deliver on other hopes.

What does your customer fear he or she may get from your product? You need to apply a similar reasoning here.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Amazon Reviews Now Require a $50 Minimum Customer Spend

NEW $50 MINIMUM FOR AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Customers used to be able to write a review at Amazon as long as they had made a purchase.

Amazon now requires customers to spend a minimum of $50 using a valid credit/debit card before they can write a customer review.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730

This is one of several steps that Amazon has made over the years in an effort to improve the customer review system.

Amazon strives for organic customer reviews.

Organic reviews are the best reviews you can get.

For years, Amazon has effectively blocked reviews that are posted by friends and family of authors.

Verified purchase reviews now have an advantage over non-verified reviews when it comes to visibility on Amazon.

Amazon uses machine learning to help determine how prominently a review will display on a product page.

This new $50 minimum customer spend is another of many steps in the right direction.

Amazon’s customer review system has never been (and may never be) perfect, but Amazon is working to make it better.

Remember the days when you walked into a bookstore, and the only reviews you saw were glowing reviews on the back cover and front matter?

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Goodreads Giveaways: Important Changes Effective January 9, 2018

Image from ShutterStock.

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY CHANGES

Like many authors and publishers, I have used Goodreads giveaways for years to help with discovery, create buzz, and seek honest reviews for newly released books.

I have been a big fan of the Goodreads giveaway, having written a few articles about it on my blog.

I’m still a fan, but there are some important changes coming January 9, 2018:

  • All KDP authors/publishers will be able to offer eBook giveaways. Previously, this was only open to traditional publishers.
  • It will cost a minimum of $119 to run a Goodreads giveaway. That’s in addition to the cost of purchasing and sending physical copies (if you choose to run a contest for print books). Until now, there has been no fee to run a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Entrants will have the book automatically added to their Want-to-Read lists (which friends potentially see through their update feeds).
  • You will gain additional exposure, as Goodreads will notify the author’s followers and anyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list about the new giveaway.
  • Initially, Goodreads giveaways will only be open to residents of the United States. (This restriction applies to entrants, not to authors.)
  • It’s possible to gain premium placement among Goodreads giveaways by paying $599 (instead of $119) for a Premium Giveaway (instead of a Standard Giveaway).
  • You will need to link an Amazon account to your Goodreads account in order to run a Goodreads giveaway. (You can create a new Amazon account if you don’t already have one.)

Are these changes good or bad?

Like most changes to the publishing world, it will be better for some authors than others.

Let’s start with the bad. There are really only two things that I don’t like:

  • It’s no longer free. Having to spend $119 seems a bit pricey. And if you run a print giveaway, it costs even more, as you must pay for author copies plus shipping and packaging.
  • Only residents of the United States may enter the giveaway, at least initially. It’s not a big issue for me, personally, since most of my book traffic comes from the United States, but I have acquaintances in the United Kingdom and Canada who feel left out.

The real question is this:

Will the benefits of a Goodreads giveaway offset the cost?

Keep in mind that with the changes to the Goodreads giveaway program, it’s possible that it will be more effective now than it has been in the past.

How might it be more effective starting January 9, 2018?

  • There might be less competition from other giveaways, making it easier for readers to discover your book. Not as many authors/publishers will be willing to pay the fee.
  • The giveaway might gain more exposure since the book will be automatically added to Want-to-Read lists, and since Goodreads will notify the author’s followers and anyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list that a giveaway is available for the book.

Note also that the cost of the giveaway has not necessarily increased as much as it may seem.

Starting January 9, 2018, you can run a Standard Giveaway for $119. However, if you choose to run an eBook giveaway instead of giving away print books, you will save on the cost of author copies, shipping, and packaging. I’ve actually paid more than $119 for a Goodreads giveaway when it was FREE: I’ve spent over $50 on author copies and over $80 on shipping for several giveaways, which comes to over $130. In those cases, I would have saved money by paying $119 for an eBook giveaway.

The new cost of the Goodreads giveaway encourages authors/publishers to offer more prizes.

You pay the same $119 fee for a Standard Giveaway, regardless of whether you offer a single book as a prize, or several copies of the same book.

If you only give away one book, $119 is a pretty steep price to pay. However, if you offer several copies of your book, the cost per book drops down dramatically.

Like all paid marketing, Goodreads giveaways are more likely to be cost-effective for authors who write compelling books. If you only sell a few books per month, paying $119 for a giveaway will come at a great loss. If your book sells thousands of copies per year, paying $119 is relatively cheap.

Are you upset that you won’t be able to run a free/inexpensive giveaway?

That’s ridiculous! Of course you can.

You can run an Amazon Giveaway directly from your book’s Amazon product page.

You just pay for the selling price of the book. For a print book, you must pay the shipping charges, too. In either case, you will be compensated partly later when you receive your royalty. You can even require entrants to follow you at Amazon. (When you publish a new eBook through KDP, Amazon notifies your Amazon followers of your new release.)

Learn more about the changes to Goodreads giveaways:

  • Click here to see the Goodreads giveaway help page.
  • Click here to read an article by David Wogahn.

Would you like to tell Goodreads how you feel about the new giveaway program?

  • Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the survey (if it’s still available). Look for “send us feedback” in bold letters.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

How to Add URL Hyperlinks with the Kindle Kids Book Creator (KKBC)

INSERT A URL HYPERLINK WITH THE KINDLE KIDS BOOK CREATOR

The Kindle Kids’ Book Creator (KKBC) is Amazon KDP’s free self-publishing tool for creating illustrated children’s books from a PDF or from jpeg images.

The KKBC is easy to use, convenient, and is both PDF and JPEG friendly. It results in a fixed-format Kindle e-book, designed for picture friendly devices (and so the published e-book may not be available across all devices, but it will work on most devices for which it would be convenient to read an illustrated children’s book).

One of the main issues is how to add a clickable url hyperlink that will take the customer directly to an external website (such as your author page or blog).

There is a way to do it, but it may not seem obvious. The steps below will show you how.

HOW TO ADD A CLICKABLE URL HYPERLINK TO AN EXTERNAL WEBSITE WITH THE KKBC

Step 1. Add the text for the URL by inserting a textbox. Click the button on the toolbar called Add Text. Then type the text as you want it to show.

In my example, I typed the following text (see the picture of text below). This is the url for my Amazon author page, which shows all of my books.

(If you wish to do the same, login to Author Central, click the Author Page tab at the top, and read the instructions where it says Author Page URL.)

Step 2. Disable the pop-up feature for the textbox. Right-click in the textbox area and click the option to Delete Pop-up. This option preserves the text, but removes the pop-up feature that would otherwise be associated with the text that you added.

The pop-up feature needs to be disabled before you can make the hyperlink url clickable.

(If you run into trouble where you aren’t able to edit your text or you don’t see anything when you right-click, try closing the KKBC and restarting the computer. When you restart your computer and reopen the KKBC, try not opening other programs along with it.)

Step 3. Open a web browser and visit the webpage that you wish to link to. Copy/paste the full web address shown in your browser. When you do this, the copy/paste option should automatically include the http:// part that you need. Paste this url into a simple text editor like Notepad.

You can see the full url for my author page in the picture of text below. Compare it to the picture above. Notice how it automatically added the http:// part.

(Fancy text editors like Word sometimes include other stuff when you later need to copy/paste from Word, so it’s desirable to work with Notepad.)

Step 4. Prepare a simple line of HTML to paste into the KKBC. You don’t need to know anything about HTML. You just need to be able to follow these directions.

On a new line in Notepad (simply press Enter to begin a new line of text), type a line of HTML similar to my example in the picture of text below, except for using your own website url.

  • first type a less than symbol <
  • next write a href=”
  • (the quotation marks should be straight, not curly)
  • next copy/paste the full website URL for your webpage, including the http part (the same text from Step 3)
  • next close the quotation marks ” (straight, not curly)
  • next type a greater than symbol >
  • next type the URL text as you want it to look (the same text from Step 1)
  • next type a less than symbol <
  • next type /a
  • next type a greater than symbol >
  • when you’re finished, the text should look just like my example above, except for using your own website URL instead of my author page URL
  • it has the following structure

Step 5. In the KKBC, click the View tab and select HTML View.

Step 6. Click the HTML tab in the KKBC. It’s right next to the Design tab, just below the toolbar and above the view of your book’s content.

(You can only see the HTML tab after you’ve enabled HTML View in Step 5.)

Step 7. Find the text that you typed in Step 1 in the HTML code that you see. This is like the book, Where’s Waldo. You have to hunt for it.

It’s probably in a div id tag, and it’s probably towards the bottom. (If you’re about to give up, try copying and pasting the HTML text into a text editor and using the Find button to help figure out where that text is. Once you know where it is, you should be able to go back to the KKBC and find it in the HTML View.)

In the picture below, I used a RED ellipse to show where I found my text from Step 1.

(Make sure that you have the right page selected before you click the HTML tab. If not, you never would find it.)

Step 8. Once you find the text in Step 7 (identical to what you typed in Step 1), highlight exactly that text, no less and no more.

It’s very important that you highlight it perfectly. Don’t include the < or > signs, and don’t miss any characters from the text.

Step 9. Then copy/paste the text from Step 4 (the one line of HTML code that we made) to overwrite the text from Step 8.

That’s it. Except now you should make sure it works right. See Step 10.

If you’re able to zoom in on my picture below and if you’re able to find and read the text, it shows how my example looks after Step 9. (Note that I didn’t actually publish this book with the KKBC. I just used the KKBC to create a test file and to illustrate how to use this feature of the KKBC. I actually published this book with the Kindle Textbook Creator instead, and it doesn’t include any clickable links. But that’s another story. The test file that I created with my KKBC still works.)

Step 10. Click Book Preview and Create Book Preview. This may take a minute.

When it finishes, it should open the Kindle Previewer (which you need to install before you do Step 10, if you don’t already have this valuable tool installed — you can find Kindle Previewer v3 and other valuable tools at Amazon KDP right here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A3IWA2TQYMZ5J6).

Find the page where you added the clickable hyperlink. Place your cursor over the hyperlink. The symbol of the cursor won’t change shape (it will be an arrow, not a hand), but that doesn’t matter.

When your cursor is over the clickable hyperlink, left-click your mouse once.

You can see how my example looks in the preview window below.

When I did this, my web browser opened my Amazon author page successfully.

You can see the webpage that opened below.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Kindle Unlimited per-page Rate for March, 2017

Image from ShutterStock

KINDLE UNLIMITED, MARCH, 2017

The KENP per-page rate for Kindle Unlimited dropped a little in March, 2017.

The rate per page is $0.0046 for March, 2017, which is down a little from $0.00497 for February, 2017.

The KDP Select Global Fund is $17.7M for March, 2017, which is up nearly $1M from $16.8M in February.

So although the KENP per-page rate took a slight dip, Amazon poured an extra $1M into Kindle Unlimited royalties compared to February.

This shows that many people are reading pages in Kindle Unlimited, and the program appears to continue to grow.

At this rate, Amazon will pay $200M in royalties just for Kindle Unlimited (and Amazon Prime) pages read for KDP Select books. That’s on top of royalties for sales, on top of the All-Star bonuses, and on top of whatever Amazon pays traditionally published books that participate in Kindle Unlimited (or Amazon Prime borrows, or both).

$200M shows that Kindle Unlimited is a significant market.

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen

Kindle Create: Amazon KDP’s New (Free) App to Convert from Word to Kindle

Curtains from ShutterStock. Kindle Formatting Magic cover designed by Melissa Stevens.

KINDLE CREATE

Amazon KDP launched a new free app called Kindle Create, which provides a simplified conversion process to format a Kindle e-book from Microsoft Word.

You can check it out here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/AIEDQZJ8TVWZX. Available for both Windows and Mac.

It’s not foolproof. And it won’t do everything that you can dream of. But if you’re looking for a simplified conversion process, and if your formatting isn’t too complex, this tool may be worth exploring.

If you visit the Kindle Create webpage, be sure to click the link called, “So how does it work?” You can find some important information there.

Although Amazon KDP has other free e-book creation apps (the Kids’ Kindle Book Creator, the Kindle Textbook Creator, and the Kindle Comic Creator), this new app (Kindle Create) is the first that would be appropriate for an e-book like a novel (or a nonfiction book with a few pictures).

I have a few notes and tips in case you decide to give Kindle Create a try:

  • Under “Beta Limitations,” it states that you may not be able to edit lists or tables. If these display fine in the previewer (for all devices), that’s okay. But if you decide you need to edit a list or table, you need to go back to Microsoft Word and start over with the Kindle formatting later. So if you have lists or tables, I would first open the file in the previewer to see if they format well enough for you in the previewer on all devices, and if so, I’d proofread those lists and tables to make sure that you’re 100% happy with them before you do anything with your file in Kindle Create.
  • Images are automatically placed as block images, and you can’t crop, reposition, or even delete them. So if you have any images, you want to be preview these right away and make sure that you’re content with them, or else go back to Word and get them right before proceeding with Kindle Create. If you decide you need to edit or delete an image, you have to go back to Word and then start all over with Kindle Create. (If you have a very rich file like a textbook, or if you have an illustrated children’s book, check out the Kindle Textbook Creator or the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator.) If an image displays larger than you would like, add padding to your image (add white space border around the picture for JPEG, or a transparent border for .GIF format) by doing this with image software of your choice (and then go back to Word and change out your image—before doing anything in Kindle Create). Most images you probably want to display large with no padding, but if you have a little logo and it displays much larger than you had in mind, you might pad that, for example.
  • Hyperlinks should be preserved, but can’t be edited. Test these out in Word first, then test them out in the previewer after loading in Kindle Create to make sure that you’re happy with the links before you do anything else in Kindle Create.
  • Upload a Word .docx or .doc file. (If you feel that PDF may be appropriate—it certainly is NOT if you have a novel—you should also try using the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator or Kindle Textbook Creator to see if they meet your needs better.)
  • Once your file is loaded (and you’ve approved or corrected your chapter titles), place your cursor in any paragraph. Once your cursor is positioned in a paragraph, you’ll see options on the right which are otherwise hidden. There are two tabs on the right panel. One tab is called Elements, and assigns paragraph styles for different types of paragraphs in your book. This is how Kindle Create simplifies the paragraph style process (which causes tons of confusion and leads to many e-book formatting mistakes when a Word file is directly uploaded to KDP). The other tab is called Formatting, which lets you create a modified paragraph style or format a portion of a paragraph (rather than the entire paragraph). If you want to format just a part of a paragraph (like making one sentence in bold), highlight the text and apply the formatting changes. To make a whole paragraph have a different formatting style than other paragraphs, first associate one of the preset styles with the paragraph (whichever you feel is the closest match), with your cursor already in the paragraph to begin with (but with nothing highlighted), and then apply formatting. It will change the name of the paragraph style to include a + sign (like Body+ instead of just Body). If you change your mind on the paragraph formatting changes, press the Clear button.
  • Kindle Create includes its own previewer. You may also wish to download the Kindle Previewer 3.0 that emulates books with enhanced typesetting. It’s available here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/A3IWA2TQYMZ5J6.
  • If you use Kindle Create, be sure to visit the Kindle Create page (https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/AIEDQZJ8TVWZX), click the Feedback link, and either complete the survey or email KDP (or both). If you would also share your experience in the comments section below, I would appreciate that (and so would other authors who visit my blog). If you want to mention the name of your book in your comment, you’re welcome to do so. 🙂

After I’ve played around with it enough times, I might post more information about Kindle Create in a future article on my blog. We’ll see.

AMAZON AUTHOR INSIGHTS

There are so many new features at Amazon.

Another of them is Amazon Author Insights: http://amazonauthorinsights.com.

You can find some helpful articles there from successful indie authors, experts, and even from Amazon. Check it out.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Comments

Click here to jump to the comments section.