Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marked early release!


Mark (n): 1. a visible impression or trace on something, as a line, cut, dent, stain, or bruise: a small mark on his arm.

Note: If you don't like hearing about KDP Select, skip to the bottom of this post to the bold underlined text :) I won't be upset. This is a topic discussed by many authors.

A little earlier than planned, Marked is now available exclusively on Amazon. Yes, I've done what I said I didn't agree with before, but anyone who knows me also knows I don't do things without research first.  I enrolled Marked into Amazon's KDP Select program, which  makes Marked available exclusively at Amazon for 90 days (I still cringe at the word exclusive). My reasons for doing this will be posted in a month with other data as it comes available, along with the positives (which I can see already) and negatives (which I can also see already).

Why will I post it? Because I do believe in sharing information with other authors. We all know how difficult it is to get your books noticed among the millions. Mine are nothing more than two grains of sand in a desert. So how do you sift through that sand to get particular two grains? Well, the short of it (or long) can be found here. And if you read through that post you'll know exactly which point I'm at in the strategy.

Has it worked? I don't know yet. So far there have been over 6000 free downloads boosting Marked to #58 in the Free Kindle Store,#1 in Fiction/Genre Fiction (don't know how Amazon assigns those). From my research, being in the top 100 is a magic number as the mysterious algorithms of Amazon begin their work. I'm not someone who watches the rankings, because really, they're just numbers, but when these numbers mean Amazon gives you a kick in promotion and advertising your book in their email blasts, they do become important.

It was interesting watching the rankings. At some point I just stared, because each time I refreshed the screen, the numbers changed and changed and changed. 200 downloads in 15 minutes, 600 in 1 hour. Yes, that's what the big sellers are selling - yes selling, not giving away, because although the freebies count towards the ranking, they're still freebies - not sold (as many people in the program refer to them). Now, I'm ready to watch the ranking plummet (which I expected), but it was still cool seeing what I saw the past two days.

Could I have let Amazon price matched to $0 and not enrolled - yes, but that's where you loose control of your free days because who knows when they would match it (and it's breaking your TOC with them). I have my suspicions on that too and why it is that they will price match a price reduction above $0 very quickly and at $0 who knows when. The whole point of the free days in KDP Select is to raise the ranking and your visibility, but more on that soon. (And that's just my opinion)

Most of what I will post about in 30, 60 and 90 day intervals is from research, observation of what worked for others, and weighing the pros and cons, understanding that each result is different. Since Marked was ready 1 month in advance, this played a big role in my deciding to enroll it in KDP Select, thus if things don't work out the way I'd planned, I'm technically loosing 2 months only. Note: I would not have done it if I had only 1 book available. In fact, building a bigger back list (meaning writing a lot) is my number one priority.

This new way of publishing is an experiment. Sometimes we need to take a chance and that's just what I'm doing. Believe me, I've taken a chance at other promotional activities (while always writing), but they did not work. Perhaps with a little luck this will be the right step in the direction of building new fan base.

For now, if I have any advice to other authors is keep writing and keep your options open. The more you have out there, (edited, good cover and blurb) the better in the long run. This industry is changing so fast, who knows what it will be in 6 months or a year. So be ready with more books.

Whatever happens with KDP Select I will dissect the information, to learn for my future releases, because I will not stop writing.

For those of you who skipped here from the top:

Feel free to spread the word (tweet, post etc). Marked is now available in ebook format here.

I'm working hard to two books at the same time. It's going pretty well and I'm very happy with the story lines. One is the sequel to Two Halves, the other, a new dystopian novel which should be available before the end of the year.

Honestly, this post got longer than I expected. It felt odd writing about this and I don't know why. I think it's just one of those days where you're dealing with other issues than writing and publishing and the emotions show in the work. Makes me wonder if being in the right mood transfers onto the written pages more than I thought. Perhaps it's a good topic for another post. But I do hope some will find the information helpful.

Warning: Marked has Adult Content including sex scenes written in an artistic and less graphic manner.

And, have you joined the A-Z Challenge yet?


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences as you go. It's interesting to hear what works and what doesn't. Good luck with it.

Ciara said...

My publisher and I decide to enroll my March 18th release, Rise From Darkness into the KDP program. We can compare notes. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Be interesting to see how well it sells after it's no longer free. I know a couple authors who've done very well.
My publisher has already stated they won't do the Select program because of its exclusive nature.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It'll be really interesting to read your subsequent posts on this. And, I don't think you should worry about changing your mind. We're all learning how to handle epublishing - I changed my opinions on it quite dramatically.

And finally, and most importantly, congratulations on the release of Marked. I'll be buying!

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

RachelMaryBean said...

That's very interesting. I didn't know how that program worked. Thanks for the info. I hope it works well for you. :)

Savannah Chase said...

Good luck with the book..I am new to the self publishing thing and still learning...

Lynda R Young said...

This seems to have worked well for a few authors I know.