Jumbled Thoughts about the Amazon Kindle Publishing and Marketing Process

Feeling out the Kindle Publishing Platform

Over the last year I have been experimenting with the Kindle Publishing platform.

Background:

I initially began writing online with the hopes of sharing creative works and promoting visual arts. Over the last 5 years that I have been active with generating an online based mobile income, it was the initial work in promoting both my own artworks and of other creative artists that led me to affiliate marketing, article marketing and website design.

But, very early on in my journey, I discovered that if I was to earn via commercial service and product sources that my topics would have to match.

Long story short, I got my creative "kicks" by discovering untapped markets and sideways angles into lucrative niches.


Experimenting with Kindle

I began to hear a buzz about the relatively new Kindle platform and how easy it could be to earn a passive income with very little external promotion. This intrigued me.But, I never made time to explore further.

Luckily, an offline client presented the opportunity that forced me into the Amazon Publishing industry head first. She requested a full book promotion package, including formatting of a Kindle book and marketing of the listing.

The print and design aspect of such a campaign was old hat for me. Album covers and Indie Movies and Books were my first major contracts as Small business owner, but marketing an unknown Writer on a new platform WAS quite a challenge.

I admitted my ignorance to those aspects and suggested a more experienced resource.

But, I didnt want to have to do that again!

Formatting for Kindle

I dusted off a short story from 2003. I began my research into converting it from a .doc file to whatever would be necessary to work on the Kindle platform.

It was actually quite easy. If you are in any way daunted by this task, dont be.

One can easily use the mobibook pocket creator to convert a text file into an Amazon compatible file, the KindleGen software by Amazon itself is also a workable resource.

Tutorials on this process are everywhere and using the mobibook reader you can test your book before uploading to Amazon.

I was particularly intrigued by the restraints of e-ink and creating interesting art and illustrations within it's constraints , so I made the task harder on myself then it would be for most. Illustrations weren't common in Kindle books when I first researched in early 2011, so I thought I could be relatively "groundbreaking" by creating images that played with the e-reader screen constraints.

Now with the release of the Kindle Fire, I suspect Art will become more common within the ebook format.

After finishing some major edits to the story and getting the formatting to what I envisioned, I released the story into the wild.

To no real acclaim.

Finding success on the Kindle platform

Since the story was something so close and personal to me, It was very difficult to come up with a marketing plan. I had no idea who my target audience was. As an online writer and marketer, I always know who my audience is, before making a single keystroke. I was in untested waters.

Since I now had a handle on the technological aspects of the format, I re-entered the marketplace under a pseudonym and began to publish non-fiction works utilizing the same market research skills I was comfortable with as an online publisher and SEO. I even came across some interesting findings in relation to the internal Amazon promotion engine.

In fact, I did absolutely no promotion of my non-fiction books and have recently passed the 1000 books sold level. Its not time to quit my day job but I did feel I could comfortably say I had strong understanding of aspects of the Amazon engine that most writers would never experience without having a background in keyword research and a taste for experimentation.


But my passion project still languishes.

My pseudonyms were doing great with a very high ROI. But, the project that truly embodied my feelings as a creative individual was a dud. A few sales would occur here and there, often with weeks between them.

I stopped checking and truly forgot about the project.

New energy into the Kindle Creative Market

Amazon recently started the Kindle Select Program and the Kindle Lending Library, some news down the grapevine suggested that both these options could be utilized to give otherwise unknown Authors a kick start.

So, I stepped back up to the plate, with almost a year passed since originally uploading the book, I was able to attack the issue of "self-promotion" and marketing of a creative work from a fresh perspective.


Five Easy Kindle Promotion Tactics

A quick glance into some promotion strategies, some obvious ..

1. Created a Website and a "Press" to later market technical and promotional packages to other Indie Writers without my unique background.

Cultural Terrorist Press

Using out-takes my high contrast art intended for the Kindle and future editions to the story series I made what I consider a fun teaser to the story.

2. Created a "Products" section of my personal Facebook account to showcase the efforts for the book without having to over-promote within my friend group.

Products 2012

3. Created some Launch Products utilizing a Print on demand resource. I took some quotes from the book, made a custom design and re-used some internal graphics to make a small selection of shirts.

Cultural Terrorist Pressings

Such promotional swag would be great for an Author who plans on making a whole hearted run on promoting a single book. I started this angle as part of a long term, multi-media campaign for a future related series.

4. Learned from and networked with Indie Writer Groups on Facebook and in the Blogosphere. A great many public and private writers groups exist on Facebook. My general impression is low. So much wasted effort is evident in their active promotion and friendly marketing campaigns. But, after a year of observing and interacting I did learn quite a bit from them and was exposed to many communities that I enjoyed participating in even though I did not join in on the self-promotion wagon inside those walls.

Some of these groups include Blog owners who like to read and review books for their sites. For the most part these sites are going to be mainly without traffic but the writers seem to enjoy it!

5. Twitter Hashtags - Twitter was probably my most successful campaign and promotion engine. The Indie Author scene is big on Twitter and if one takes a moment to look into the hashtags most commonly used by Indie Author groups they can access a friendly market that may help promote, review or simply read far in excess of your own follower count.

  • #IndieAuthors
  • #amWriting
  • #KindleFreebies

Here is a further taste of hashtags for Indie and self-published writers



My Easy Promo Tips are mostly pointless

My tips are pointless without one important ingredient.

Time and again I have read anecdotal stories about the power of the Kindle Select Platform and it is hopefully the keystone to making any of the above marketing worthwhile for me, an unknown.

The Kindle Select program allows you to offer your book for free on the Amazon platform for up to 5 days during each 90 day period that you enroll.

The twitter engine and soft marketing would be useless or at least slightly tacky if it ended in a sales page and the need for my friends and followers to pull out their wallets. But, with the option of up to 5 days free and the possibility of earning via participation in the Lending Library from those "sales" , promoting a freebie for a week each 90 days MAY turn out to be a great marketing and promotion technique if can find their audience.

Authors report that the increase in "sales" leads to higher visibility across the Amazon site's very powerful sales template allowing for your book to turn up more frequently in the "suggested" sections across Amazon.

From tags, to category selection to cover art there are a great many factors within the Amazon platform that can greatly influence sales. Perhaps, after my initial foray into experimenting with the Select program I can hopefully revisit this topic and report back on successful tips for publishing creative works on Amazon, but at this point, only time will tell.

Help me select a cover image for Amazon Kindle

I stopped sleeping.

During this 5 day promo period, I have been unable to slow down and relax. Ive tweeted endlessly, I've redesigned the cover, I have added new sections to the site, i even wrote this hub in my head. I have to give major credit to those Hub Authors and Indie Authors who put themselves out there with projects like this as an everyday task.

It is exhausting. Marketing other people's products is a calculating and low-risk endeavor. This on the other hand is taxing.

This is where I should plug the story, but I don't want too. My traditional readership is not likely to identify with this short story. I have yet to discover if and who my target audience is.

But, there is one day left on the free promotion. If you like, you can help me discover who my market is, you can get the kindle story for free direct from Amazon. It is only about a 20 page read. If it speaks to you somehow, then awesome! ... tell me about somewhere, leave a review on Amazon, send me a message, help me identify who MY market is.

I would expect someone who enjoyed Fight Club, has crossed paths with "House of a Thousand Leaves" or has some interest in early Beat literature or Art theory from that time period might get a kick out of it.

Maybe, It is more accessible then that. I'm not sure, I'm still at the research stage and very excited about future installments and massive cross platform approach to the storyline.

You could give me a tiny suggestion down below. My original Cover design was created for print and utilizes transparency effects that do not translate to the ebook format.

Be my A/B Testers and tell me which of the two images would be more likely to encourage you to give the book a second glance in the tidal wave of daily imagery you are exposed to.

Source
I Was A Freshman Provocateur
I Was A Freshman Provocateur

Free for only one more day,

I cant describe it

I liked this review though:

"Actually, if Camus and Kerouac had a love child he would write like this."

 
Source

Your Feedback will be used for the final decision

Which Cover Should I Use - Which Is More likely to Catch Your Eye?

  • Proposed Cover Replacement: Bold and Colorful
  • Existing Cover Image
See results without voting
I Was A Freshman Provocateur
I Was A Freshman Provocateur

Disregard Listed Price - This story is FREE until Feb 1st 2012 and is always FREE for Amazon Prime Members

 

More by this Author


Lets Talk Kindle Publishing 20 comments

Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

The proposed image is a winner, I think.

I was not aware of that 5 day thingie - thanks, I will look into it.


Abundant old soul profile image

Abundant old soul 4 years ago from united states

I am only starting this journey. It is exciting and daunting at the same time.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

As someone planning to write an e-book this has helped me get an idea what it entails. Thanks!

Randy SSSSS


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

Thanks for your thoughts. Many things to think about as a writer in this fast-changing environment. Voted up.


viking305 profile image

viking305 4 years ago from Ireland

I prefer the original cover. It has more mystery to it and gives the hint of an intriguing story.

I will soon to be publishing my non fiction ebook on Amazon so found your article very interesting and useful.

From the benefits you have described above I believe the 5 day free trial for e books on Amazon is a winner for sales in the long run. I did not realise that option was available so thank you


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I do know that I have discovered authors by downloading their books that I never would have downloaded if they hadn't been free. I have gone on to buy other books by a few of those authors.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 4 years ago from Tampa Bay

I read the story this afternoon out on my patio. I think because I know a little bit about you and your personality, I liked it even more than perhaps if I didn't know of you. Your creative writing is very enjoyable, refreshingly candid and a bit twisted all at the same time. I like your main character and the way you described his thoughts and his perception of cultural pretensions. I think your audience would possibly have a few surprises for you. It could be a rather mixed group of people who simply appreciate a good, entertaining read. I laughed out loud a few times and I thought the twist towards the end was brilliant. I like both covers, the first certainly makes you wonder about this man. Great job on the hub also. It's nice to read your thoughts.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

@PCUnix, Thanks for the feedback, an important part of the Amazon Select Program I didnt mention which may have relevance to you is that when you place your book in the program you are promising to make your book exclusive to the Amazon Marketplace for 90 days. The Lending Library is a distinct option and does offer a percentage share out of the "pot" that is shared with all Authors in the KLL program.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

Oh, I would never do that.. Oh, well.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

@PC - I was aware you had longstanding sales via your site. I would imagine as an experiment, a teaser, or more basic primer of one those technical topics could probably be whipped together rather quickly? Perhaps, encouraging sales of a more advanced primer in a similar topic?


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

@AOS, Randy, Gio , thanks for the feedback and I cant stress how easy it is to both publish in the kindle platform and find resources to assist you in every conceivable aspect of it should you get hung up.

Randy, do or do not!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

No, I'd lose too much. Can't do it. And no energy to write another!


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago

Thank you are words not quite strong enough. Information like this is priceless to those of us without your wonderful and knowledgeable background. This is a journey I am looking forward to taking and with your information in hand I won't struggle as much. Voted up, useful and awesome.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

@UW - Thanks for taking the time to read and review the story. Hugely appreciated!

I own a nook. Ive been reading and testing formats of Kindle books using the various compatible reader softwares and Kindle cloud option. As a result, I haven't been as involved with "Kindle Only" promos until very recently.

Im glad to hear (again) that the free concept is a method to acquire future sales. It makes sense, but it has yet to be something I have done myself. Its hard to find contemporary Authors to read without being surrounded by others with similar tastes.

The next few books on my plate are: http://pinterest.com/xobba/books-i-want-to-read/

Im hoping pinterest may connect me to some people with similar tastes


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

Just discovered "goodreads" so now my suggestion engine exists and my need to read shelf is huge!


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

Wow. saw the item on Amazon for the kindle program, but didn't give it a second thought. You've now peaked my interest. Excellent hub, interesting subject matter. Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked useful, interesting and book marked


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

I looked deeper at that Kindle Select. There are other benefits.. I'm thinking about it :)


Charles James profile image

Charles James 4 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

On another hub or forum or something somebody wrote that on all their hubs they put an Amazon link to their book. That fits well.

I am still on my first novel and I think I have to go on Kindle as a trad publisher is unlikely to take it until it proves a seller.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com Author

@RebekkahElle , wow, thank you! I really appreciate your observations! Comments like that really reward the creative side of me and I must admit I am flattered!


nakmeister profile image

nakmeister 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

A great hub, thanks. Do you know if you can still publish extracts from your book on blogs, hubpages etc if you are signed up with the Kindle Select Program?

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