KDP authors can now add A+ Content to their product pages at Amazon.

What is A+ Content?

In addition to the product page (and in addition to pages that you can access from Author Central, like the author biography or a From the Author section)…

A Plus Content lets you add additional sections of writing or images to help showcase your book or provide more information about yourself.

It can be a sales tool that you put right on your Amazon product page.

There are several formats to choose from, such as a single wide image (with or without text displayed in front of it, or with text added below it) or 3-4 square pictures with information beside each picture.

For authors of multiple books, you can add a comparison chart to show the differences between similar books (or help readers easily see which other books you’ve written). The comparison chart lets you link to your other ASIN’s; it will automatically create hyperlinks.

I discovered the option to add A+ Content on Amazon one week ago and have been adding A+ Content since.

How do you find the option to add A+ Content? One way is to visit KDP and click on the Marketing tab. Scroll down. Select you Marketplace. Click the yellow button.

First click the other links to read the Guidelines and browse the Examples. A couple of the samples were very nicely done.

When you get there, click the button to Start Creating A+ Content.

Give it a name. Click the button to Add Module. You can add multiple modules (until it won’t let you click to add a new one). If you have multiple modules, you can use up/down arrows to reorder them.

Be sure to click Edit. When you’ve made good progress, click Save to prevent losing a lot of work at once. If you have a lot of unsaved work, you can run into a problem where the Save button gives you an error message, so I’ve learned to save frequently.

On the next page, enter the ASIN’s that you want the A+ Content to apply to. Once you have A+ Content for one ASIN, you won’t be able to also add additional A+ Content to the same ASIN (but you can change which content is associated with each ASIN).

Once you’ve created A+ Content, you can open it and Duplicate the content. This makes it easy to create similar content for other books. Though if you delete stuff afterward, sometimes a little of your information disappears in the new one and you need to rewrite it (which is easy to do via copy/paste if you open the previous A+ Content in a different tab).

It currently doesn’t seem to let you duplicate A+ Content for one country to use in a different country, however. Maybe it’s because they expect you to change the language: Even from the US to the UK, they probably expect you to make the spelling/language differences. The Content Guidelines mention spelling and grammar.

In case you may be interested in what I’ve done, here is a link to one of my product pages that includes A+ Content:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/194169134X

Once you get there, scroll down to the From the Publisher section. The visual part of this is A+ Content. (After that, the From the Author section had been done in Author Central months ago.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks

More Changes to AMS Advertising—Up and Down Bidding

 

AMS ADVERTISING BIDDING DYNAMICS

The amount of your bid may now change.

This includes ad campaigns that were running prior to April 22, 2019.

There are now three campaign bidding strategies:

  1. Dynamic bids—down only. Your bid is automatically lowered when Amazon predicts that your ad would be less likely to convert to a sale.
  2. Dynamic bids—up and down. Your bid is automatically raised as much as 100% when Amazon predicts that your ad would be more likely to convert to a sale, and lowers your bid when it would be less likely to convert to a sale.
  3. Fixed bids. Your bid is fixed, unless you check one of two boxes that allow Amazon to adjust your bid.

In addition to the bidding strategies, there are now two bid adjust options (which replace the old Bid+):

  1. You may choose to increase your bid by up to 900% to land your ad at the top of search results (first page).
  2. You may choose to increase your bid by up to 900% to land your ad on a product page.

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR OLD AD CAMPAIGN?

If you launched an ad campaign with AMS prior to April 22, 2019, the bidding strategy was automatically changed to Dynamic bids—down only.

If your ad previously had Bid+ set to on, it now includes a 50% bid adjust for top of search (first page).

MAKING SENSE OF THESE CHANGES

The main idea behind AMS advertising is relevance. When the most relevant ads show to customers, this benefits customers, it benefits Amazon, and it benefits the product being advertised.

AMS has always benefited authors and companies whose advertisements rate high in terms of relevance.

In fact, by rating high in terms of relevance, an ad campaign can actually generate more impressions at a more modest bid.

If an ad creates 2000 impressions and has no sales, from Amazon’s perspective the ad doesn’t seem very relevant to the customers seeing the ad.

If an results in a sale once on average for every 500 impressions, this ad is far more relevant than an ad that creates one sale for every 2000 impressions.

What I’ve said so far has been true for years.

The recent change of introducing bidding dynamics helps to reflect relevance in the amount of the bid itself.

In circumstances where an ad has a history of seeming less relevant, a dynamic bid would lower the bid for less relevant ads.

In circumstances where an ad has a history of seeming more relevant, a dynamic up-and-down bid would raise the bid for more relevant ads.

DON’T GO OVERBOARD

Amazon makes it easy for authors to bid too high.

It’s very common for authors to bid more than they can afford to bid.

If you bid too high, your ad is more likely to result in a short-term loss, and you’re more likely to think that AMS isn’t for you.

First of all, it helps to realize that AMS isn’t just for books. There are many businesses using AMS to advertise many other products.

When you’re selling a product that retails for $100 or more, and where your profit is $10 or more, you can afford to bid $1 or more and you can afford to include a large bid adjust option.

When you’re an author selling a book for $5 with a royalty of $3, you can’t afford to bid $1 or close to it (there may be exceptional circumstances, but very rarely).

If you mostly sell Kindle eBooks, and if your average royalty is close to 70% (if your books include many pictures, your effective royalty is probably much less due to the delivery fee), then you want your ACOS (average cost of sale) to be 70% or less so that you’re not losing money on your ad.

If you mostly sell paperback books, and if your average royalty is close to 30%, then you want your ACOS to be less than 30%. The list price should be higher for a paperback, which helps to offset this lower percentage.

Figure out what your average royalty is, then keep a close eye on your ACOS and strive to keep it below your royalty percentage.

For comparison, my ads (some for books under pen names) generate millions of impressions (combined) in a single month with an ACOS usually around 25%. So it is possible to generate many impressions at a modest ACOS.

My ad campaigns use dynamic bidding—down only. I don’t currently raise my bids. The main reason is that this happened automatically on April 22. But after about a month of data, I don’t yet see a convincing reason to change to up-and-down bidding. I might try it with a future ad and see how it does, but the big downside is that ads will cost more.

I didn’t use Bid+, so I don’t bid extra for placement in search results or on product pages. For a nonfiction book, I would prefer to show high in search results than on a product page. But I also prefer not to pay extra for this.

It’s tempting to bid higher and bid extra. But it costs more. If you can get successful ads at a lower cost, you can run your ads for a much longer period.

The main key to success is relevance. You can actually generate good impressions at a modest bid if your targeting results in high relevance.

Part of relevance is a compelling cover, effective description, helpful Look Inside, amazing content that leads to good reviews, etc. This helps you sell more books for each 1000 impressions, which helps to rate high in terms of relevance.

Part of relevance is effective targeting. I have a knack for researching keywords and keyphrases. I spend time on Amazon typing in keywords and seeing what it suggests (yes, I know this isn’t perfect, but as it turns out, it really helps with brainstorming). I jot down keyword ideas whenever they occur to me. Use your brainstorming techniques. Now I don’t use every keyword (or better, group of related keywords) that comes to mind, but I do have a very long and varied list to begin with.

I suggest trying to bid below a half-dollar, maybe in the 30 to 40 cents range. This may not be enough with a popular broad keyword like “mystery” or with a product page for a popular book. But if you are clever enough to find combinations of keywords that do get searched several times per day, but which aren’t insanely popular, or similar popularity for product page targeting, you can get lower bids to be effective.

But you really want the targeting to be relevant for your book. That’s the most important thing. If the wrong audience is looking at your ad, you will rate poorly in terms of relevance.

If your ad isn’t performing well and it’s been a couple of weeks, you can pause or terminate your ad and start a new one. Try different targeting.

Raising the bid isn’t likely the solution to an ad that isn’t performing well because it doesn’t rate well in terms of relevance. But new targeting may help you land more impressions at a modest bid. If you can rate better in terms of relevance, you can land many more impressions.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

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

KDP Help Pages Continually Improving

 

THE KDP HELP PAGES

Every few months for the past 11 years I’ve spent time browsing through the KDP help pages.

They have evolved considerably over the years.

When CreateSpace first merged with KDP, there was very little information on the KDP help pages regarding paperback formatting and submission requirements.

Now the paperback submission guidelines for Kindle Direct Publishing are far more complete.

Visit KDP. Log in. Look for the Help link at the top of the page.

kdp.amazon.com

There is ample information organized in the Help topics that appear in the left column.

For example, for paperback formatting:

  • Look under Prepare, Publish, Promote
  • Click Prepare Your Book
  • Select Format Your Manuscript
  • Below the first list, look for Paperback Submission Overview.
  • Now you will find several topics, from templates (which I don’t recommend, but can be handy) to fonts.

Even Amazon Kindle’s Build Your Book has evolved over the years. This formatting guide used to be solely for Kindle, but now there is also a version for paperback formatting. The paperback version is available for Microsoft Word, Word for Mac, and even Pages for Mac.

If you spend some time browsing through the help pages, you can find some cool info. For example, check out both the Promote Your Book and Tools and Resources sections under Prepare, Publish, Promote.

One of the most valuable KDP help pages is found under Prepare, Publish, Promote > Publish Your Book > Enter Book Details > Choose Browse Categories. This page has the secret keywords needed to unlock special categories.

Another thing that has evolved considerably is Amazon’s list of recommended services. This list used to be just for Kindle conversion services, but has since been expanded to include editing, cover design, formatting, and translation. Find this list under Prepare, Publish, Promote > Getting Started > Before You Start Publishing > Publishing Service Providers & Resources.

Want to know more about advertising with AMS? Click Prepare, Publish, Promote > Promote Your Book > Kindle Merchandising Programs > Advertising for KDP Books.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

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

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.

Marketing your book on Father’s Day and other holidays

Images from ShutterStock.

Images from ShutterStock.

MARKETING BOOKS NEAR HOLIDAYS

Father’s Day and other holidays can be book marketing opportunities.

Did you take advantage of this book marketing opportunity this Father’s Day? You could have.

If not, Independence Day in the US is coming up soon.

So how could Father’s Day be a book marketing opportunity?

Here are a few ways:

  • Your book might make for a nice gift for dads.
  • The father-son relationship may be a significant part of your novel.
  • Your nonfiction book might relate to tools, classic cars, or something that many fathers may enjoy.

If your book might make for a nice Father’s Day gift, you have the opportunity to say, basically, “Here’s a Father’s Day gift idea,” instead of another, “Check out my book,” message.

Or you might put your book on sale temporarily and advertise the promotion. You can advertise not just that your book is on sale, but that it would be a nice gift for dads.

Check out this example on Read Tuesday, which collected some Father’s Day gift book ideas.

Some authors use the holidays which best relate to their books to get media coverage through press releases. Local papers are looking for holiday themed articles, and your book’s relevance to a holiday might be a good fit. You don’t know until you try.

But Father’s Day is just one of many holidays:

  • December 31, New Year’s Eve. Great for books that tie into New Year’s resolutions.
  • February 14, Valentine’s Day. This one may be too obvious.
  • March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. Have an Irish theme to your book? Is part of your book set in Ireland?
  • March/April, Easter Sunday. One of many religious holidays.
  • April 1, April Fool’s Day. I suppose you could even use a practical joke as part of your marketing strategy.
  • May 5, Cinco de Mayo. But if you have a book that relates to Mexico in some way, beware that May 5 is not Mexico’s Independence Day (which falls on September 16, another opportunity to market your books a few months later).
  • May, Mother’s Day. Would your book make a nice gift for moms? Does it feature a strong mother-daughter relationship?
  • June, Father’s Day. Covered that earlier.
  • July 4, Independence Day. Patriotic books get a few holidays, including Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.
  • November, Thanksgiving. It could be a book that relates to the spirit of giving thanks.
  • December 25, Christmas. A huge day in the US for gift giving, even with gifts that don’t directly relate to the religious holiday.

Which days (possibly not on my short list) are the best fit for your books? Those times offer your book marketing opportunities. Look out for them.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, 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.

You Might Be a Writer if…

Qwerty

You might be a writer if…

  1. Some of your best ideas were originally written on napkins, Kleenex, or toilet paper.
  2. You wake up at three in the morning and sneak out of bed to spend a couple of hours alone with your computer.
  3. When people act like jerks, you appear to handle it maturely, then secretly fashion characters after them to exact your revenge.
  4. You pull over to the side of the road a few times each week to jot down ideas for your book.
  5. A family member interrupts your work to ask you a simple question and you turn into a screaming lunatic.
  6. The most fulfilling conversations you have are between you and your imaginary muse.
  7. When your lucky underwear really stinks, friends know you’ve been fortunate not to get any bad reviews for several weeks.
  8. You log into your publishing account while you’re eating lunch to check on your royalties.
  9. In the middle of the night, you wake up sweating with an irrational fear that some discovered your secret pen name.
  10. You routinely turn down invitations to parties in favor of working on your book.

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

What Determines If a Book Is Good?

good

What determines if a book is good?

The answer is a 7-letter word.

Unlike many conventional puzzles, plurals ending with -s are allowed.

The answer is not E-D-I-T-O-R-S. Although they may be able to help make a book better and they might be qualified to judge writing on many levels, whether or not a book is good doesn’t ultimately depend on the opinions of editors. There are, in fact, highly successful books that many editors don’t think highly of.

The answer is not R-O-Y-A-L-T-Y. A good book doesn’t need to be widely popular; a good book can provide value to a small audience. There isn’t a magic number of sales or royalties to determine if a book is good or bad.

The answer is not R-E-V-I-E-W-S. Even the most highly esteemed books receive critical reviews. So just receiving good reviews doesn’t make a book good, and receiving bad reviews doesn’t make a book bad. The number of reviews doesn’t make it or break it, either, as this depends strongly on the number of sales. The average star rating is not a good indicator, as opinions and systems for reviewing can vary wildly from one person to the next.

The answer is not P-U-B-L-I-S-H-E-R. Aside from the fact that this word has too many letters and the reality that for decades publishers have prevented many book ideas from ever being read, publishers don’t ultimately determine whether or not a book is good. In fact, there are many popular stories of publishers who have turned down books that later turned out to be amazingly successful.

The answer is not A-U-T-H-O-R-S.  Well, this depends in part on how you want to define a ‘good’ book. The author determines whether or not the book is good enough to share with others. The author also determines whether or not the book is successful; what one author considers a success, another might deem a failure. We’re not talking success versus failure, or how the author feels about his or her own book. A ‘good’ book should provide value to more than just its author.

The answer I have in mind is R-E-A-D-E-R-S. But not in terms of the total number of reviews or the average star rating; the answer is readers, not reviews.

Publishers think in terms of sales, investment, risk, net profit, and cost-benefit analysis. They don’t determine if a book is good; they strive to determine what will make them money. And they sometimes make mistakes with their predictions.

Different editors think in terms of writing style, storyline, plot, characterization, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. And each editor has his or her own set of opinions, and knowledge of various ‘rules.’ It’s possible for a writer to adopt a writing style or method of storytelling, for example, that creatively blows the ordinary rules right out of the water, while also producing a really good book. Ignoring the rules certainly doesn’t make a book good; and following any usual rules or guidelines, in itself, doesn’t distinguish good books from bad ones. (However, as you know if you read my blog, I do stress the importance of editing.)

Royalties and sales reflect how wide your paying readership is and how successful your book is business-wise. But what if tens of thousands of people read a book because you’re a very popular author, but later feel strongly that it didn’t live up to their expectations? All those sales don’t necessarily imply that the book was good. And what about the book that has a really small readership, but where most of the readers loved the book. Isn’t this book good?

What I Don’t Mean

I’m not saying that bad reviews indicate that a book is bad. Most readers don’t review books at all; surely, their opinions count, too.

I’m not saying that good reviews necessarily make a book good.

Again, I mean readers, not reviews. And I don’t mean all readers. No book pleases everyone, so it’s not possible for everyone to love a book.

What I Do Mean

If complete strangers discover a book and feel that it was worth the read—that if they had time machines at their disposal, they wouldn’t choose to go back in time and not read the book—then to these readers, the book was good.

If some wish they hadn’t read the book, this doesn’t make the book bad. Every book that’s had thousands of readers has some that strongly dislike the book.

Good, Better, Best

I don’t think it’s helpful to try to rank books. It’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges. If you love apples, can you fault the orange for trying not to fit the apple mold? Even if two books fall into the same subgenre, like romantic comedy, different authors and readers vary in their perception of just what a romantic comedy should be. So two different romantic comedies aren’t two kinds of apples, one is a lemon and the other is a lime. Two different books aren’t supposed to be the same; they were intended by their authors to be different.

What I feel is more important is the notion of improvement. I’m a fan of the compare-yourself-to-your-former-self concept. If we can all achieve this, surely the world will be a better place. If an author learns ways to improve, the author can make his or her book better.

Another factor is doing your best with the time and resources you have available. Strive to do your best each time, and as you learn and grow as an author, strive to become better. If you feel strongly that you should have done something different, then your book could have been better than it was.

Bad

When the author feels that he or she should have done better, that the book really wasn’t fit to be published, the author is judging that his or her book isn’t good. When no readers will ever feel that the book is worth reading, they are judging that it wasn’t fit to publish. (If there is a narrow audience who just hasn’t discovered the book yet, that’s different.)

A books that was written for the wrong reasons, which is lacking in effort, which no reader will enjoy, had ample potential to be something much better.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

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

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

Which Should Come First—Kindle or Paperback?

First

Unless you have a book where Kindle formatting is impractical, you should make both Kindle and paperback editions of your book.

Benefits of the Kindle Edition

  • You can make the Kindle edition much more affordable. If your price is $2.99 or higher, you can still draw a high royalty (70% minus delivery costs).
  • Many customers only read e-books.
  • It’s much cheaper for you to send out review copies.
  • There is no extra charge for color.

One reason not to create an e-book is if you have a book where this is impractical, such as a workbook where the reader needs to write down answers.

You should also consider publishing your e-book with Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. The only reason not to do so if you feel that the benefits of enrolling in KDP Select outweigh the benefits of having your e-book available with several e-book retailers.

Benefits of the Paperback Edition

  • Some customers prefer to read print books.
  • Amazon will show your Kindle edition as a percentage off compared to the paperback edition (once the two editions are linked together).
  • Kindle’s new MatchBook program encourages the sale of both editions.
  • It’s convenient to edit your writing with the printed proof.
  • You get to experience the incredible joy of holding your baby in your hands.
  • Local bookstores and other retailers might be willing to stock your book. If nothing else, your friends and family will believe you really are an author.

Which Should You Publish First?

Once you decide to make both Kindle and paperback editions, you must decide which edition to publish first.

Most authors simply publish each edition as soon as it’s ready. Some authors prefer to format e-books and have the Kindle edition ready first; others love the art of formatting pages and have the paperback edition ready first.

That’s not necessarily the best course. Suppose you had both editions prepared, but neither was published yet. What’s the best thing to do? Should you release them simultaneously? Or is there a reason to publish one edition first?

Some authors who plan this—rather than simply first publish whatever happens to be ready first—choose to arrange preorders for the paperback edition using Amazon Advantage. They use preorders as part of their strategy for building buzz for the book’s release, and to help foster a strong sales rank and prospects for early reviews when the book is released. They then release the Kindle edition when the paperback goes live.

Once you have both Kindle and paperback editions available, you can have them linked. This creates an interesting possibility that was recently mentioned in the CreateSpace community forum: If your Kindle edition is available for sale now and linked to a paperback edition that’s on preorder, any reviews left by Kindle customers should, theoretically, show on your paperback’s product page, since the reviews are linked together. (Paperback customers can’t review the paperback edition until it goes live.)

There are two good reasons not to release both editions simultaneously:

  1. You gain visibility by having a book in the Last 30 Days and Last 90 Days categories on Amazon. This is based on your publication date. (Tip: Don’t enter any publication date at CreateSpace. That way, your book’s publication date will be the day you click Approve Proof. This maximizes your book’s visibility with the new release search filters.) Release one book 90 days prior to the other and you get 180 days of new release visibility out of one book.
  2. You have the opportunity to create double-buzz. Build buzz for one edition. Then a month after its debut, you have two months to build buzz for the other edition if it’s going live 90 days after the first.

You could release the Kindle edition first. At the same time, setup preorders for the paperback edition. Arrange the paperback edition to go live 90 days after the release of the Kindle edition. Make the publication date of the paperback edition when it goes live, so you get a total of 180 days visibility in the Last 90 Days category.

If you’re one of those authors who can publish two books per year, you can use this method to always have a book listed under Last 90 Days.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

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

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

What I Learned from Reading Fiction

Fiction

  1. Everything will be okay in the end, no matter how awful it seems right now.
  2. Things will get worse before they get better. Much worse.
  3. Don’t try to be a favorite; you know the underdog is going to win.
  4. Mr. Right is right under your nose; you just don’t realize it.
  5. There is a fairy tale ending for you, but it will be hell getting there.
  6. When you finally reach a state of happiness, brace yourself for the sequel.
  7. Live the life of a protagonist. You’ll have a happy ending and the life will be very rewarding.
  8. You can make life easy by being a major antagonist; you just won’t have a happy ending.
  9. The safest bet is to live life like a narrator; you get to see all the action, and you must survive to tell about it.
  10. If you’re not tall, dark, and handsome, don’t live life like you’re in a romance novel.
  11. Imagination can be a million times more exciting than reality.
  12. Reality is a million times safer than fiction.
  13. Make life more exciting by imagining you’re in a novel.
  14. Don’t trust anyone. Ever.
  15. Anything can happen to anybody at anytime.
  16. The more incredible the odds, the more likely things will work out.
  17. Be very afraid of the dark. Don’t go out at night. Don’t do anything.
  18. Good always triumphs over evil, but evil never gives up.
  19. Stay away from fiction writers: They must be totally insane.
  20. How to write better.

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

The Other Side of Taking Your Time with Your Book

Fast SlowI’ve been a recent advocate of taking your time with your book: showing patience, getting help as needed, perfecting your work, doing pre-marketing, etc.

Let me balance this by referencing an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding self-publishing at a fast pace:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303640604579298604044404682

I have some trepidation that authors might read this article, especially given where it was published, and interpret that to mean that writing and publishing as quickly as possible is a successful business model.

No matter how you publish, it will take a special brand of content and packaging to attract a large readership, and discoverability is only becoming more challenging each year.

If the book isn’t attracting readers, having thirty such books probably won’t help.

But if you have a special book that’s just a magnet for readers, those readers will crave more, and the faster they can get it, the better.

The getting-more-books-out-there-quickly plan may have some merit.

Let me emphasize that there is more to it than just a large number of books; content is especially important, and so are packaging and discoverability.

I’ve mentioned previously the power of a backlist: Most authors who put out many titles in a few years already had much of the work done before publishing.

I benefited from a backlist, a coauthor, and publishing many workbooks that don’t compare to writing a novel. I know that it can help to have several books out. The more marketable books, the better. Having a large number of books that aren’t too marketable won’t help much.

What’s right for you? That’s the million-dollar question you’ll have to figure out. 🙂

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

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

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