AMS Advertising: Now in the UK and Germany

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AMS ADVERTISING VIA KDP NOW AVAILABLE IN THE UK AND GERMANY

Amazon KDP has its expanded its AMS advertising option to books that are available at Amazon’s UK (United Kingdom) and DE (Germany) stores.

On the one hand, if you are among the first to test this out, you might get ahead of the competition. On the other hand, if a big swarm of authors shows up all at once to test this out, some people may vastly overbid and hog all of the clicks (at an expensive cost) just to test out how it works. So if you’re not getting much activity for several days, my suggestion is to be patient, don’t raise your bid insanely, wait for people to spend more money than they can afford and for the bids to drop down to reasonable values (and then maybe even start a new ad later, which is sometimes better than continuing an unproductive ad).

Note that UK bids are in GBD, not US dollars. You might want to Google a currency calculation to see how much you’re really bidding if you’re used to US currency.

If you already have an AMS account setup for the US, you have to be careful about how to test this out.

Note that existing or even new ads placed in the US will NOT display in the UK or DE. You have to setup new ads using the AMS site specifically for the UK or DE.

Don’t go to Reports. (Because if you reach the UK or DE site that way, it might seem like you have to setup an account from scratch. So try my suggestion first.)

Don’t go to AMS for the US.

Go to your KDP Bookshelf.

Find a book that is live in Amazon UK (or DE).

Hover your cursor over the gray ellipsis (…) button to the right of the title on your KDP Bookshelf.

Click the Promote and Advertise option.

Now select your marketplace.

If you already have an Amazon Author Page setup in the UK, you probably already have an Amazon account setup for the UK. However…

You might need to update a credit card or add billing info for it (even if it is currently working for your US advertising with no problem).

The reason is that Amazon AMS has different sites for advertising in the US, UK, and DE stores. So you might need to do a little work to get your billing info setup.

If you advertise in both the US and the UK, for example, you’ll need to monitor your reports separately at the US and UK sites for Amazon AMS.

For authors who live in the UK or DE, or whose work is highly relevant for these countries, you are probably eager to test this out.

Otherwise, first ask yourself if you have any books that may be a good fit for this audience. If they expect one thing, but get something else entirely because your book is a much better fit for the United States, the ad probably won’t work out.

If you have regular sales in the UK and also some good reviews in the UK, then you have some reason to believe that your book may be a decent fit for the UK audience.

Search for AMS on the search bar on my blog. I have several articles on advertising with AMS (including one specifically about changes in 2019).

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Amazon Giveaway is Retiring. Now What?

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NO MORE AMAZON GIVEAWAYS

October 10, 2019 will be the last day that you can run an Amazon Giveaway. (To do so, visit the product page for any eligible item at Amazon.com.)

October 17, 2019 will be the last day to enter Amazon Giveaways as a customer. Until then, you can find Amazon Giveaways here:

https://www.amazon.com/ga/giveaways

What will you do after that?

Authors can still create contests for free books through Goodreads Giveaways.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

I currently have a Goodreads Giveaway for my new Fun with Roman Numerals math workbook. You can enter my giveaway until October 7, 2019:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48192781-fun-with-roman-numerals-math-workbook

Pros:

  • Goodreads is a popular site for readers.
  • Giveaways generate interest, and almost all entrants add your book to their To-Read lists, which adds activity to your book’s Goodreads page.
  • The price per-book for a Kindle eBook giveaway is pretty reasonable if you choose to give away 100 books. You pay a flat fee for the giveaway price, but don’t need to purchase eBooks on top of that. (However, for a print giveaway, you do need to pay for books, shipping, and packing in addition to the giveaway fee.)
  • A successful giveaway can generate significant interest at Goodreads. I’ve run several dozen giveaways (mostly for print books) for books in my name and in pen names, with very often at least 1000 to 2000 entrants, occasionally more. Really popular coming attractions can generate heavy interest, though of course it’s not as easy to have that popular title.
  • You’re likely to receive some reviews at Goodreads (unless you only give away a few books). (You’re less likely to receive Amazon reviews from Goodreads Giveaways, but it does happen, just not as often.)
  • For a print giveaway, you can include a bookmark and a brief thank-you note, for example.
  • You can run a giveaway for a long period of time (like a month). Although you gain the most exposure on the first and last days, the days in between add up when there are several of them. (A recent newsletter from Goodreads, which includes tips for a successful giveaway, suggests having multiple giveaways leading up to publication.)
  • More people get the chance to enjoy your book. 🙂

Cons:

  • Goodreads Giveaways have a significant up-front cost. This is the main con, but it’s a big one.
  • For a print giveaway, you have to purchase author copies, pack, and ship them, in addition to the giveaway fee.
  • Not as many winners review books on Amazon as they do at Goodreads, if Amazon reviews are what you’re hoping for.
  • Currently, you can only run a giveaway for entrants in the United States and/or Canada, which limits worldwide exposure.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Kindle Unlimited: How Much Did Amazon Pay Per Page Read in August, 2019?

THE KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGE-READ RATE FOR AUGUST, 2019

In August, 2019, Amazon paid $0.00439 per Kindle Unlimited normalized page read (KENP), virtually identical to what they paid in July (you have to go to another decimal place to see a difference).

The KDP Select Global Fund rose slightly from $25.6 million to $25.8 million.

(Keeping it concise, not blogging too much right now. Working on some cool projects, like Fun with Roman Numerals, about to go live, and Test Your General Science Knowledge, coming soon. Time to get back to writing.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Kindle Unlimited: What was the KENP rate for July, 2019?

KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ FOR JULY, 2019

The KENP rate for pages read in Kindle Unlimited in July, 2019 was $0.00439.

It’s a small drop (roughly 5%) compared to June’s rate of $0.00464.

However, Amazon actually paid out more royalties overall in July than in June.

That’s because the KDP Select Global Fund rose from $24.9 million to a record $25.6 million.

Perhaps Amazon Prime Day had a small impact. If, for example, Amazon sold many Kindle ereaders, there may be new customers using their free month of Kindle Unlimited.

Whatever the reason, the per-page rate does tend to vary a bit, although it has been relatively stable for much of 2019.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Amazon Coupons (even on one of my books)

 

SAVE $1.00 WITH COUPON AT AMAZON (LIMITED TIME)

Have you seen those green (or orange) coupons at Amazon, where you can save a little money by clipping the coupon?

In search results, I sometimes see it in green highlighting, like Save $1.00.

On the product page, below where it says In Stock, I sometimes see Coupon with orange highlighting and a box to check next to green writing.

Be sure to click the box to apply the coupon.

I’ve seen these on a number of household items that I buy regularly, including Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh.

It’s nice to save a little money, and the coupon sometimes affects my decision on which product to buy (usually, when it wasn’t an easy decision to begin with).

Yesterday, for the first time, I happened to see one of these coupon offers for one of my books (the paperback edition).

I haven’t seen it for any of my other books yet, and this might not last long for the book it does show on. But it was a nice surprise.

Maybe Amazon is testing this out on a small number of books to see how it goes.

Discounts at Amazon have changed considerably throughout the years.

  • When I published my first book back in 2008 (wow, that was over ten years ago), there used to be 4-for-3 offers on many books (including mine, back then). I often bought 4 books at a time in those days. But then the 4-for-3 program disappeared. That was a pretty big discount, so it’s no surprise if it wasn’t sustainable.
  • Shortly thereafter, many books went on sale sporadically. There were times when many of my books were on sale, and times (like the holidays) where almost none of my books were on sale.
  • The new thing seems to be coupons to clip. (I like this idea better than, say, the Countdown Deal idea.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How much did Amazon pay for Kindle Unlimited pages read in June, 2019?

KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ FOR JUNE, 2019

The rate was $0.00464 per page for pages read through Kindle Unlimited in June, 2019.

The per-page rate has been very stable from March thru June. For example, it was $0.00466 in May.

The KDP Select Global Fund rose to $24.9 million for June. It continues to climb. The Global Fund was $24.6 million in May.

Happy Amazon Prime Days (July 15 thru July 16, 2019)!

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Amazon Prime Day, 2019: July 15-16

JULY 15-16, 2019: AMAZON PRIME DAY

Every July, Amazon has a special day of deals just for Prime members.

This year (2019), the event will actually span two days: Monday, July 15, to Tuesday, July 16.

It’s like a Black Friday in the summer just for Amazon Prime customers.

The event attracts much attention.

There are millions of customers who have Amazon Prime.

If you have that membership, naturally you want to make the most of it.

And thus you are enticed to check out Amazon on Prime Day, to see if there might be a good deal on something that you’d like to buy.

Occasionally, Prime Day, Black Friday, or even Cyber Monday can be very big even for Amazon.

Not only does Amazon often achieve record sales of some sort (like Kindle devices), but sometimes there is so much traffic early on that customers have to wait patiently for little delays relating to internet usage. Amazon surely works hard to resolve and prevent such issues, since these are huge sales days for Amazon. But even Amazon can occasionally be surprised by a huge surge in customer activity.

Many customers associate Amazon with books and ebooks, but Amazon has a huge inventory of all kinds of products.

More customers are regularly shopping on Amazon for birthday presents, holiday gifts, household items (with Subscribe & Save benefits), groceries (if you live in a metropolitan area where Amazon Fresh is available), and much more. You can even buy services from Amazon, like getting a ceiling fan installed.

It reminds me of Robert A. Heinlein’s hard-to-find short story, “We Also Walk Dogs” (one of my favorite stories).

Amazon’s big sale days, such as Amazon Prime Day, encourage more customers to explore Amazon’s other products (that is, way beyond just books).

Though you can usually find some books on sale, too.

Unfortunately, Amazon really hasn’t tapped into its KDP author base on the big holidays.

Even if an author’s KDP published print books are periodically on sale at Amazon (with Amazon paying the full royalty even when it’s on sale), they have seldom been on sale on the big sale days.

Kindle authors can run a Countdown Deal (if in KDP Select) or a temporary price reduction (though in this case it isn’t obvious that the book is on sale), but it may actually be better to schedule the promotional price at another time. Many customers are too busy chasing the main deals of the day. At another time, your book might be more likely to get noticed, or your own marketing might be more effective.

I keep waiting. One of these years, Amazon will announce to KDP authors when Prime Day is coming, along with plans to include some KDP books, encouraging KDP authors to help spread the word. Or at least include more of the KDP paperbacks on sale. I can list dozens of amazing ways that Amazon has improved KDP over the past ten years, including things many people said would never happen (like the ability to make a preorder, advertise KDP books, or add x-ray features to Kindle ebooks). So maybe including KDP authors with Prime Day will be one of those things someday. With over a million authors, there sure is potential to help market millions of books along with the big day.

Well, a couple of times over the years, CreateSpace or KDP has preordered one (or more) of my books for Amazon Prime Day. Like Amazon does for the holidays, stocking up on its better selling books helps Amazon meet its logistical challenges. I appreciate that the preorders help keep better selling books available during peak sales days. That’s a great start.

In the meantime, as a Prime customer, I will check out the event and see if any of the deals interest me this year.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Kindle Unlimited Pages Read Rate for May, 2019

MAY, 2019 KINDLE UNLIMITED PER PAGE RATE

For May, 2019, the KENP per-page rate for pages read through Kindle Unlimited was $0.00466.

This is nearly identical to what it was in April, and is a small improvement over March.

In May, the KDP Select Global fund climbed up to $24.6 million.

The Global fund was $24.1 in April and $24.0 million in March.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How Do You Search for Books?

 

INTRODUCTION

It isn’t easy to find the “perfect” book to read, and once you read that book, you need to find another.

This question is important from two different perspectives:

  • Customers want to learn about the best ways to find the books they are likely to enjoy the most.
  • Authors and publishers want to know the different ways that customers might search for their books to aid in their marketing strategies.

I will start out by listing common methods that customers use to search for books.

Then I will share a couple of creative strategies for finding a good book to read.

I hope some of my readers will add helpful comments. Don’t be shy.

HOW CUSTOMERS SEARCH FOR BOOKS

Following are a variety of book-buying habits.

  1. Browse bestseller lists. This is highly popular. The idea is that there should be some good books on these lists. Fortunately, for authors who aren’t yet this popular, this is just one of many methods that customers use. If you write an amazing book and succeed in marketing, then you might benefit from this method. Until then, focus on the other methods.
  2. Browse subcategories. This is also common. I’ve scrolled several pages through subcategories, so you don’t always need to land at the top to get noticed. But if your book is way back even in a very narrow category, there is still hope. How? Because some customers will combine methods, like first choosing a subcategory and then searching for specific keywords.
  3. Enter keywords. This is handy when you’re looking for a certain type of book that isn’t easy to find just by browsing a subcategory. If you want to find a calculus workbook with answers, you could type that phrase into the search instead of browsing through all calculus books (which will start out mainly with textbooks). If you want to find a mystery set in a certain era or location, you could use a search instead of browsing all mystery books. Authors and publishers need to choose their keywords wisely; spend much time brainstorming before finalizing these.
  4. Look for new releases. This doesn’t just help bestselling new releases. Many new releases get noticed when customers search for books some other way (like using keywords) and then click Last 30 Days or Last 90 Days on Amazon to help filter the results. It’s surprisingly common how many books sell fairly well for three months and then see a significant decline in sales, often because the Last 90 Days filter suddenly stops helping. You want to find effective marketing strategies before the three months are up to help the book succeed long-term.
  5. Book reviews. Not just those on Amazon product pages. If you find someone who regularly reviews books in your favorite genre who proves to be fairly reliable in their criticism, you suddenly hit the jackpot. It’s not uncommon for publishers to seek out bloggers with large followings who regularly review books, offering advance review copies. I know that some of my followers either review books on their blogs or have had their books reviewed on various blogs. If you’re reading this, you’re invited to leave a comment.
  6. Word of mouth. If you read a great book, do your friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and coworkers a favor: Tell them about the book. Great stories are meant to be shared. I love it when book titles come up in conversations.
  7. Book marketing. This isn’t so much about the customer looking for the book, as the authors striving to help customers discover their books. Customers discover books through marketing, so it can work. Often, it’s in the form of branding. A customer might see a book cover a few times over the course of months, then one day the customer is browsing for a book to read, remembers seeing that cover, and finally checks it out.
  8. Stores. While Amazon is amazingly popular and convenient, there are still bookstores and customers do browse through the shelves. If you have a paperback book, put together a press release kit and see if local bookstores (and other stores that sometimes carry books) may be interested in purchasing author copies directly from you at a discounted price. A customer who discovers your book in a store might wind up buying more of your books online in the future.
  9. Advertisements. Amazon does this very well. Over the past few years, many ads have been sprinkled onto product pages and search results, but these are fairly inobtrusive. For example, in search results the ads practically blend in with the other books on the list. Many customers do click on ads that interest them. The trick for authors and publishers is not to overspend for their ads, and to use ads just as one of several forms of effective marketing. It also takes a great cover, product page, and Look Inside to get the most out of the ad space.
  10. Indie books. I’ve self-published several books, as have over a million other authors. Like most authors, I’m also an avid reader. When I read, I often search for books by other indie authors. I like to support the idea of self-publishing and the companies (like Amazon and Smashwords) that have been instrumental in making this possible. Many other indie authors (and their friends and family) also search for indie books.
  11. Subscriptions and promotions. For example, many readers subscribe to BookBub, which provides a few recommendations for discounted books every day.
  12. Series, sets, anthologies, similar books. It can take a long time to find a really good book to read. If you can find a set of books to read, or a really long book to read, you are rewarded as a reader for your effort to find that book; you get more material to enjoy reading.
  13. What other methods can you think of?

A COUPLE OF CREATIVE WAYS TO FIND A GOOD BOOK

I have a couple of creative suggestions. These may not be popular yet, but perhaps one will be worth considering. Especially if you’ve spent hours using common methods, but weren’t satisfied with the results.

  1. Suppose that you find a thorough customer review on Amazon, the review really resonates with you, and after reading the book you feel that the comments were spot-on. Well, duh! You need to go back to that review, click on that customer’s name, and see what other reviews that customer has written.
  2. Interact with a variety of authors, see their personalities and their character, and see how well they write informal posts on social media. It’s surprisingly easy to interact with authors in this digital age. Sometimes, once you’ve “met” an author before reading a book, you read the book differently than you otherwise would have. A positive outlook can actually help you enjoy a book more. I’ve read some books this way, and it has often worked well for me.
  3. If you can think of any creative strategies to search for books, I’d like to hear them.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides