Self publishing a book has been a great learning process for me, I shirked my responsibilites in maintaining this blog but now that I'm done with writing that first book, I can impart some wisdom. I've learned things that I wish I knew in advance that I'd like to share. I considered publishing the book on multiple platforms other than Amazon (nook, ibook, etc.) but instead listened to a friend's advice and enrolled in the KDP select program.
The first couple of weeks, my book was on sale for $3.99. This is what the chart Amazon gives you monitoring my books... success:
You can see the day where I announced the book to friends and family spike. After that, it sometimes sold two copies, sometimes one. Then I tried a single day of the free promotions they allow you to run. In that day I saw a spike of a little over 100 downloads of the book. Sales "picked up" and that's when you see the stretch of three days in a row with four sales a piece. Now I've gone whole hog and am in the middle of a promotion with the book having been available for four days in total (ending this weekend) for free. Here's the current chart:
So far well over 1,000 downloads. I'm currently sitting around #320 overall in the free books chart. I'm at #42 in Non-fiction. I actually have reviews now, which the book lacked. Will this translate to sales after the free period is over? Yes, and the following tips ought to help explain why.
1. I whored myself out, there's no way of sugar coating it. I searched for every single blog, facebook group and subreddit that I could find that was dedicated to announcing free ebooks. You might be like me and feel like you're spamming, but you've got to do it. I found this site: http://www.trainingauthors.com/facebook-groups-for-authors/ which had a lot of links that welcomed your linkage of the book. Then there's Reddit. One of the most popular sites currently on the internet. Before you post there, you should make an account at least a month in advance and post thoughtful comments and links not related to any of your own projects, otherwise nobody will see your posts. The best "subreddits" to post a link to your book are: /r/KindleFreebies, /r/eFreebies, /r/FreeEBOOKS, /r/selfpublish.
2. I asked friends to retweet, or share a link on Facebook to it. People don't mind doing that as much if it's free. When you do tweet, putting relevant hashtags like #freebie #freekindle #freeebook #indiepub #kindle are a must if you want people outside of your universe to find it. Use more hash than a hippie at a Grateful Dead concert in the 70's.
3. When you link to your book make sure that the keywords you want it to rank higher in are in the URL! You will want to add sr=1-40&keywords=whatever+keywords+you+want+here to the end of your books url. For me the phrase I wanted my book to show up higher on was "Writing Prompts". My url is: http://www.amazon.com/1-000-Awesome-Writing-Prompts-ebook/dp/B00JOVSYC2/sr=1-40&keywords=writing+prompts -- before this free experiment, my book showed up on the tenth page overall in kindle books when you searched for writing prompts. It has climbing a few pages a day since then and is now almost to the top of the second page when you do a search in the kindle store. Hopefully it shows up on the first page by the end of Sunday, but even the second page is great.
4. Make your author profile so people can easily start following you or contacting you. Do this before you start promoting your book because they warn you that it can take up to two days for your author profile to show up on the books you're selling. https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ is the place to go.
5. Make any changes to your book cover at least two days before you do any big promotion. I wasn't happy with my original cover so I had a friend design a new cover. It changed in the book itself within six hours, but it took two days for the cover to change in the item listing and anyone who downloaded it during that time got the old cover.
I hope this helps some of you. I'm still learning and hopefully will pick up even more tips along the way to impart to all of you. Keep being awesome. :)