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Promoting KDP Promotions

I’ve been publishing on Kindle for just over a year and using KDP Select to run free promotions every few months.

Success levels have varied. My highest number of downloads was during a five-day giveaway for which I did zero promotion. However, I have also used 30+ websites that take FREE submissions for Kindle giveaways and thought I’d share my knowledge with all you other indie authors out there.

Author Marketing Club

The Author Marketing Club (AMC) is very useful. Join and you have access to their ‘free submission tool’ – a webpage linking directly to 18 sites (plus one for children’s books) that list and promote free Kindle books. For the club’s homepage and link to joining instructions, click here.

The following sites linked to AMC have all listed my books at least once – those with an asterisk next to them have done so for each promotion:

Author Marketing Club*; Bargain EBook Hunter; Free Book Dude*; Indie Book Of The Day; Awesome Gang; Book Goodies; Free Booksy; EBooks Habit; Snicks List* (list on first day of promotion only).

The following sites (as far as I can tell) have never listed my promotions even when meeting their requirements:

Pixel Of Ink; EReader Cafe (nothing shorter than 120 pages); Books On The Knob; Kindle Book Promos (minimum 14 days notice); Free Kindle Fiction; EReader News Today (requires 3+ reviews); Orangeberry Free Me; Digital Book Today (requires 18+ reviews and minimum 4* Amazon rating), Kindle Book Review (minimum 14 days notice).

Other sites

Other sites that I have approached for Kindle promotions are below. Those in bold have listed my giveaways, the others haven’t. The name of each site is linked to it’s submissions page and I’ve noted any requirements of which I’m aware:

Addicted To EBooks – submit on the day only

Centsible Reads – 5 reviews with 80% average

FK Books & Tips – 4* review minimum

Free Books Daily – submit on the day only

Free Kindle EBooks – a weekly listing

Frugal EReader

Goodreads – see group forums, some with listings for Kindle freebies

Indie Book Bargains – UK site, submit on the day only

Kindle Boards – require 3+ reviews and 4* rating

Pixel Scroll – submit a week in advance

Story Finds

Super EBooks – enter details on a calendar of promotions

World Literary Cafe – join as member and list about 10 days before promotion

Comments

As you’ll see, I’ve listed more than 30 websites and forums that I’ve used to try and promote Kindle giveaways. Of these, about 16 have listed my promotions at one time or another.

There are other sites that list promotions. Some do it automatically taking information direct from Amazon and do not provide any opportunity for authors to submit information. Others list promotions but charge.

A number of the sites above take free submissions but also ask for donations or offer a guaranteed listing for a fee. (Which might be why some have never listed my books!)

What I have no idea about is how many readers look at these listings. My suspicion is that these sites are mostly used by fellow authors also trying to plug their giveaways! (My suspicion not helped by the fact that – as mentioned above – my most successful promotion was one for which I did no publicity at all.)

I also have no information about how much traffic any of these sites gets. Which is why, apart from being a natural skinflint, I’ve never paid for a listing. I don’t see the point in paying $10 for a listing on a blog just because it boasts a mailing list of 10,000 as I’ve no idea how genuine the numbers are, how genuine the addresses are – and how many are for genuine readers.

I’ve included Goodreads in my list. The site is huge and growing and probably the best place to get your book plugged other than on Amazon itself. It also includes various forums for authors, some of which provide opportunities to plug freebies. Writers of genre fiction will probably find it extremely easy to find groups that meet your tastes.

Hope this is all useful. Any additional suggestions or comments welcome.

PS. My adventure novel Pagan’s Sphinx is free for about another 36 hours! Links: Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk

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Final 24 Hours

Just a quick reminder: today is the last day for grabbing a free copy of The Tale Of Findo Gask from Amazon.

Findo is my story of a young boy who turns to theft after being born into obscurity and poverty in a city in northern England.

It’s a story full of escapades: from saving drowning dogs to an armed raid on a security firm depot and stealing the diamonds from an opera singer’s head.

But it’s also got some moral questions at the heart of it: why people obey the law and whether we should expect people to play by our rules when they don’t have a stake in society.

The Tale Of Findo Gask was the national winner in a UK competition for new writers in 2005 and has got some very positive reviews (4.3 average on Amazon.com and 4.7 on Amazon.co.uk).

For your copy, just click on the link:

Findo on Amazon.com

Findo on Amazon.co.uk

Read, enjoy and tell your friends! (Oh, and if you like it, please post a review – thanks.)

Wake Up To My Genius!

I’m cooking up a recipe for success… well, that’s the plan.

All writers would like to think it’s the quality of their creative output that counts. End of story.

In which case, how come so many of us have unread masterpieces hiding away in desk drawers or on computer hard drives?

Sadly – just in case there’s anyone who hasn’t worked it out yet – that’s not true. Your incredible, inspirational, potentially life-changing words of wisdom are only a small (but important) ingredient.

There’s also that dreaded thing called ‘marketing’. (Yeuch!)

When I started this blog, it was primarily to provide a platform (little buzz word there) for my books. But it’s developed into a bit more. My thoughts on writing, creativity and, occasionally, life in general. Blogging has also opened up opportunities to chat with people all over the world – I was learning about Bangalore the other day.

But I digress. One of the other things I want to do is to share what I’ve learnt about indie publishing and how to get my books noticed in that big, bad, largely unknown world out there.

Yesterday, I was blogging (kind of) about why giving away your books is good for real sales. And, yes, one of my books is now on a free promotion.

This is the fourth promotion for The Tale Of Findo Gask since it was published on Kindle last December. Previously, though, I haven’t done anything to promote the giveaways other than mention it on this blog – which I’ve only really started to give regular time to in the past three months.

For those interested in figures, I had around 440, 630 and 280 downloads (from all Amazon sites) during the previous promotions.

Now, there are some sites – like the Kindle UK Forum – that automatically list free books. But there are many others that you have to approach, register with, email etc to let them know when you’re books going to be available.

And this time round I’ve done quite a lot of advance work to make sure my book is listed in as many places as possible – and I’m really interested to see what impact my efforts will have.

Findo went free from today and as of 3pm this afternoon (UK time), there had been 69 downloadsfrom Amazon.co.uk and 26 from Amazon.com. (I’m assuming – and hoping – the lower figure from the US site is because you folks on the other side of the pond are only just waking up.)

Anyway. Once the promotion is over, I’ll let you all know the end result and share with you which sites I’ve used to promote Findo – please do point out any I’ve missed!

In the meantime… come on America! Wake up and download my masterpiece!

PS. None of the downloads were by me. Honest.

It just ain’t natural

I hated being the centre of attention when I was a teenager. Any time I had to stand up in public, my knees went to jelly and I felt sick with nerves.

By the time I was in my 20s and working as a journalist I had no problem conducting one-to-one interviews but would get ridiculously nervous asking questions in front of an audience.

Writers: shy and retiring by nature.

Luckily, various jobs forced me to overcome my fear. As spokesman for a disaster relief charity I had to do live TV and radio interviews. As a teacher I found that willingness to make an idiot of myself in front of a class generally helped make lessons more fun and more effective.

But, being an essentially private person, I don’t relish the spotlight. Some people love it. They’ve got the gift of the gab, can sing and dance, know how to work a crowd and adore the limelight – all very handy if you’re an independent author and have to get out there and ‘market’ yourself.

For me, though, self-promotion doesn’t come naturally. When I meet people, I rarely tell them I’m an author and I suspect many writers have the same issue.

That’s because writing is by its nature a solo, contemplative performance. We create in private over a long period of time. We bond with our characters, live in their world, discover their motivations, loves, hates…

Eventually though, when the book’s finished, it’s time to emerge from our little bubble and engage with the real world. There might be a few people who write just for the pleasure of the process. Most of us though write because we have something to say, a story to tell or a point to make.

So, unless we’re supremely talented, very lucky or both, that means we have to talk to our potential audience and say ‘hey, I’ve written this, what do you think?’ 

Come on, show yourself

Blogging is one way of talking about yourself and your work. Then there’s blog tours, Facebook, Twitter and all that other stuff.

I know that being my own publicist is essential but it just don’t feel natural.