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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Your Feedback will be used for the final decision
Which Cover Should I Use - Which Is More likely to Catch Your Eye?
Free Books on Kindle Publishing
Disregard Listed Price - This story is FREE until Feb 1st 2012 and is always FREE for Amazon Prime Members