Meet My Marketing Friends of Books Shelf. Together We Are Sharing Author Advice and Featured Article About “How To Build Your Author Fan Base”. . .




Most of my friends and authors who come to visit “The Reading Den” know this CATS PASSION is helping authors and writers learn where to promote and market all their books. I am also the Queen Cat of discounts and affordable book advertising to larger reader sites.

Now, I happen to stumble upon this amazing website of Books Shelf here- https://www.booksshelf.com/about-us around late spring early summer. Was this CAT happy she did! They offer an array of services from Amazon marketing and ads, publishing, and many promo options to get your books the exposure they deserve

First? I highly suggest you go visit them and sign up for the Author/Book Email Newsletter so you don’t miss a DEAL or perhaps your next amazing read!

Second? You need to check out all the services they offer for Advertising Promos and they also have publishing services too: https://www.booksshelf.com/advertising-plans.

They have helped make some of my job much easier when Building My Marketing Plans for my author clients and pretty much have added them as one of the “Go-To” places all my authors are set up on.

Here is why the email newsletter is a MUST. Every so often they run a Special Offer and discount for the up coming month you can purchase. They do what they advertise with exceptional service and why I keep setting my clients on Books Shelf. Again, they give great client service before and after your promotion/ad too! It is free to register and edit up a nice Author Profile and Ad your Books before you make any promo purchase. They make simple to do. Then you will be ready to go!

So, this week, Books Shelf is my choice as my ‘Featured Guest & Article’ as they share with all of us “How to Build Our Author Fan Base.” Let’s all learn together! ~The Avid Marketing Cat!



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“So Many Books, So Little Time!”



Books Shelf 4 days ago

How to build your author fan base?


When writing a book, you always want someone to recognize your work and eventually fall in love with it. No one really wants the countless sleepless nights he or she spent in writing to be all for nothing. If you have done everything right, people will buy your book, read it, put it on the shelf, and maybe forget about you or your work after a month or two.

That is not something you want to happen. You need to build your fan base, you need people that will wait in excitement for a new release from you, you need people who will tell all their friends and relatives about your books. But how to achieve that?

First of all, you have to know your target audience. For example, you can’t expect children to read a book about politics or something more romantic and vice versa, you will not see any adult read a book about a rabbit with superpowers, except if it is a bedtime readable for their children. You should set yourself a target audience for which the content of your books would be relevant. Then you can start advertising your book on social media, or on your own website.

Okay, now that we have set our expectations, we need to think about how can we fulfill them. A great way to make your readers become your fans is by interacting with them. Social media is your main weapon in this fight. You can make promos for your new books, you can post a teaser of your new project, you can make a “questions & answers” post in which people who have bought your book can find a bit more about you as a person. Letting them closer to your life will mostly benefit you, people love to feel a close connection to each other, and you can use that to your advantage.


How to Create a Book Out of Your Blog Content | Elegant Themes Blog


You can make a blog and post stories from your life which can help your fan base to be more involved with you, you can also make giveaways, in which you can put a free copy of your book up for one lucky reader to get.


Now that we’ve briefly covered the author promotion and social media marketing, we have to look at our fan base expectations towards the book itself. If your book is a huge success and you want to make a sequel, there are some unwritten rules you need to follow.


First of all, you should never change the main part of the storyline too much, because your readers would most likely purchase the second part of your product, just because they liked the first one very much, and when something is very good you should not change it, you only want to expand it.


The characters can “evolve”, but for this to happen you have to set a slower rhythm. For example, a bad bloodsucking vampire can’t fall in love with the innocent girl that randomly came to his house. His behavior can change, but not immediately, this will help keep the interest of the reader and will look a lot better story-wise.


Of course, you can always ask your readers about what do they want, and if you feel like fulfilling all of their expectations, you will raise your prominently book sales. Another thing you should remember is thinking twice about making drastic decisions towards plot twists. Most of the readers love seeing plot twists happen because they want your book to be unpredictable before its end, no one wants to read a book where you can predict the ending after reading the first thirty pages. Making a plot twist is a high-risk, high-reward move.


In the past, whole fan bases have turned against their favorite author because of a bad decision for a plot twist, you would rather avoid a similar situation because it would greatly damage your reputation and most likely put your book sales number on a hold.



Building a fan base is hard, it requires a lot of time and dedication, but once you succeed in this manner, you will find out how this will affect your life. Your fan base can become your friends, even your family. Don’t look at your books only like a matter of living, look at them as a way to express yourself, as a way to change people’s way of thinking, or even changing their life.


Having a fan base that always buys your new books without hesitation is the best thing that can happen to an author, it means that your books are worth something much more than their prices in the bookstore, it means they have a value that no money can match, and last, but not least, it means a lot for your value as a person.


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My New Author Interview of All Things Recovery, Literary, and Helping Others. All My Passions In Life…

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Yes, that is ME in the photo with my Red Big Jim’s Ride Around America Shirt on and with some amazing recovery friends this past April 2019 at a Speaking Event I spoke about my story from gambling addiction and my life today almost 13-yrs later maintaining recovery and advocacy work to raise awareness …

Now, it’s not every day I happen to get invited for an Author Interview. I’m a wee bit shy since I do battle agoraphobia and I get a little nervous doing interviews. But since I have had so many new blog friends come to visit and follow along on both my recovery and my book blog, I thought I would take up the offer from Terry who owns Author Shout which is an amazing large reader site as Terry connects authors and readers together so readers can find many awesome new books.

The interview has been updated as my journey all began with one little book I published and grew from there! I hope all my new friends and followers will enjoy learning about “All The Hats I Wear” on my recovery and literary journey! And if you didn’t know?

My at-home business is promoting many fine authors and their books and can be seen on my other WordPress Book Blog of “Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den” and home of “Lyon Media Services”…

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Just some of my back story as I am a Best-Selling Author of The Kodel Publishing Group with her shocking debut memoir titled; “Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

Catherine’s Memoir is both an in-depth and raw look as she takes readers on a journey of many important topics that ‘touched’ her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood. Not a book on how to recover but an in-depth look of how events in one’s life, or past trauma and abuse, or even the ways of parental discipline can be some of the underlying factors to why some people may turn to an addiction later in adulthood as form of escape, numb hurt feelings, or just trying to cope with everyday life when not emotionally strong and haunting memories of it come calling…

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude that past childhood pain and traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escapism into a “dream world” to forget, if only for a few hours the haunting memories of her childhood sexual abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the “perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling with alcohol abuse right before entering treatment. So, something like gambling to be for fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice!

Now maintaining recovery nearly thirteen years, Catherine has become well known in the addiction/recovery communities and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and why the expansion of Indian Casinos and State Lottery offerings needs to stop across America. Catherine’s featured in many mainstream media and recovery publications like Columbia University’s Media Release through the 2×2 Project “Gambling with America’s Health. Also was interviewed for “NAUTILUS &Time Magazine online article in September 2016.

She is a former writer and columnist for “In Recovery Magazine’s-The Author’s Cafe”  and after it’s sale was hired as a freelance writer and columnist for Keys To Recovery newspaper. She is also an “Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger” for “Addictionland”   of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts like the late Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Tommy Rosen, and Arnie Wexler. She recently handled all the media and social media manager for “Big Jim’s Bike Ride Around America” until Jim Downs was forced off the ride due to serious medical issues after 4 months of biking over 5,000+ miles.

Catherine, aka., CAT lives just outside Phoenix, Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband for 29-years. She is a ‘Cat Lover’ and has three, Ms. Princess, Mr. Boots, and Simon-Peter. She has no choice but to be an avid reader for her business, but she loves cooking, gardening, swimming, and rafting. She owns and runs an online marketing business called: “Lyon Book & Social Media Promotions.

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Author Interview With Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Q. What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.

Why did you write and disclose personal family experiences? Were you afraid of backlash or judgment from family and others?

 

A.  I feel that is what writing a memoir is all about. Since my book is about my life of many topics including gambling addiction and recovery and not a book of HOW to RECOVER, I wanted readers to have an inside view of how our family life growing up can later become some of the reason some may turn to addiction in the first place.

I, nor many people do not grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic. Some grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive situation. That was my experience, and later became added “fuel” to my gambling addiction. I wanted to “set the back story” so to speak so readers had an understanding of how many of us turn to addictions instead of knowing there are places we can get help like counseling or therapy when your “past comes back later in life haunting you.”

As far as any backlash, my family needs to understand this memoir is not about them, it about how I was affected by how I was raised and disciplined. I was also sexually abused as a little girl, and I stuffed that away for years without my parents knowing until adulthood. You will have to read my book to learn how all that turned out. So, you have to brave enough to share the good, the bad, and all the ugly if you are going to write a memoir without the worry of backlash. I am trying to help others through my book. For me, that is what I focused on and help others know they are not alone if this happened to them.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

A. Not really. My first book came very easy to me. And believe or not I hand wrote the memoir in 6 spiral notebooks. At that time, I was not writing a book, I was writing for myself to heal and to see all that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had taken from my life. The book part and becoming published happened a year later as “divine intervention” I say.

I then was invited to be part of a compilation book which published in December of 2017 titled “Ten The Hard Way.” And I have been working on my next book for a long while and will be about HOW to begin recovery and what to expect. The only weird thing? I love writing when it’s raining. But I am not an outline or draft type of writer. I just let the words flow out of me onto paper. More of a freelancer.

Q. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

A. I can thankfully say no to this question. One of the best pieces of advice I had received from another writer was, “write what you know.”

Unfortunately, I know much about gambling addiction, recovery, mental health challenges, and childhood trauma. All these topics have ‘touched’ my life and I advocate about passionately …

Q.  What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

A.  I would have to pass on what was told to me in the above answer “write what you know or I feel what you are passionate about.” If you love animals? Write an animal children’s book. If you have an open imagination? Write a thriller or mystery. An action or adventure story.

I am a writer and author “by accident,” Lol. So I feel funny giving other aspiring authors advice. I am a book promoter/marketer for many fine authors of all genres as well, so one piece of advice I can give to first-time authors?

Your book takes many hours, days, and months to promote. Book sales and book reviews will not happen overnight, so don’t give up or get discouraged. KEEP Writing and Promoting your books!


Q.  What are your current/future projects?

A.  I do have a couple of projects on am working on. My second book is almost complete and will be a follow up to my memoir and a helpful resource for starting recovery from gambling addiction on how to make their first year in recovery.

Another I have been working along time will be a stab at fiction! It is about a woman who is being chased by her “addiction demons” in recovery and takes a Lighthouse Keepers job on the North Oregon coast looking to start life over and for some solitude and serenity in her life. But her past comes calling! The rest you’ll have to read if I ever get it done! Lol.

Q.  Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

A.  I actually added in my current book with the reasons “how and why” I came to start writing in the first place. It was about the suicide of a woman at a hotel and casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon. I read about in our local newspaper. Reading it lit a fire in me to see all that my gambling addiction took from me. But, no spoilers here. LOL. You need to read my book titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,’ which is now listed here on Author Shout, and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

Again, I write what I know ….Lol.
Balance is a challenge for me to fit my own writing time in as I promote for other authors. It is why it has taken me two years to get my next books done and published. So except for the compilation book, I am still a “one book wonder” at this point. Again, I sure do write a lot for several recovery publications and my own blogs.

Q.  What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

A.  I think we all know indie and self-published authors are changing the landscape of the “traditional” way authors get published these days. You no longer have to look to or be with a big publishing house anymore. Now, that is not to say they’re most likely are some self-published or indie books that may not be very appealing. (No offense to authors). As I have read a few myself and the authors are not writers, LOL.

However, there are awesome writers and authors producing some fantastic works and it is refreshing to see that all authors can now be noticed and praised for work well done! That is part of the change with being able to self-publish. I have promoted authors that were picked up and offered publishing contracts. So the traditional publishing houses are finding many good writers and authors. That is a great thing.

Q.  Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

A.  My current book was picked up by a publishing firm in So. Oregon where I used to live. But my publisher is a smaller independent publisher. I did, however, receive an awesome offer when it came to my royalty share. the Kodel Group are more like a “self-publish” helper. I had an editor and designer for my current book already, so they just did my format, typesetting, and upload through Amazon’s KDP Direct Publishing of my paperback and for my e-book.

Going this route was a more inexpensive way to publish. Nowadays most publishers won’t do any book promoting for authors unless you buy a publishing package, except they may send out a press release about the new book, so authors Beware…Be ready to set a budget to promote your books on your own. I do all my own book promoting throughout social media and PR releases through several PR services. Authors can promote for free at many book sites. There are many low-cost options to gain exposure, sales, and reviews. Just like doing advertising on “Author Shout” and others like awesomegang.com or bookgoodies.net …

Q.  Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?

A.  No. The only change or difference that I made was to my book cover. I have two different covers that are the same, but my e-book cover has different colors. I wanted my e-book cover to have more vibrant Las Vegas catching colors. That was about the only change.

Q.  What opportunities have been presented to as an author you in sharing those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)

A.  Being a person of long-term recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol for almost 13- years now, publishing my book was my way of helping others with the problems as I had and was the only way I knew how to help others. By sharing my story in many ways like media, radio, and podcasts shares to others HOPE that they can recover from this cunning and devastating illness.

Many blessings and doors have opened for me to share my voice and writing and to have a platform to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of addicted and problem gambling. I want those who have never been touched by this addiction have more understanding and empathy for those who suffer. The opportunities that have come from people seeing and reading my book are have been many!

Being a former recovery columnist for a premier magazine called; “In Recovery Magazine.” I did many amazing interviews and articles of many high profile people who share their recovery as well and many have become friends and supporters of mine. I am now a writer for a premiere recovery newspaper out of So. California called; “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and I am still an expert gambling addiction and recovery blogger “Addictionland” a platform to raise awareness and educate the public about problem gambling. I have a few more, but I am ‘humbled and thankful’ for all the opportunities that have come my way. These offerings help keep me in recovery as well.

Q.  What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

 

A.  Now this question is an easy answer! Lol.
Since I market, promote, and advertise books for many authors and my own book for living, authors can hire me for “done for you” set-up of social media places to be and a full-service plan that won’t break the bank here at “Lyon Media & Literary Services.”

I’ve been doing book promoting and marketing a long time and it doesn’t have to be costly. I do research often and keep up on the latest low-cost options and new media places too! I want to be able to help new authors learn ‘how and where’ to promote their books. Many of the sites to place book ads are free or you can do low-cost book ads or book promotions and giveaways.

There is no shortage of authors needing help as they continue to write more books, and why among other reasons why they hire me to promote their books.

My number one valuable tip? Layer your book ads when your book first releases. That way you will find and it will help build your readership through many book promo sites like Awesomegang.com or Bookgoodies.net . . . And Author Shout! Just a couple of my “go-to places.”

Q.  What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

A.  My current book is a Memoir of my life with many topics discussed throughout which I mentioned above.

Q.  What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

A.  I carry a spiral notebook or my laptop with me everywhere I go!

 

Q.  Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?

A.
  Now that I am working on books two and three, I am trying to keep both within 300 to under 500 pages. I also let my editor worry about that! Lol.

Q.  How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

A.  Yes. My writing has evolved so much since I wrote my first book. I feel the more you write, the better you get. Now that I am writing more as a profession as well, I have taken some webinars and use writing software to make sure I continue to become a more seasoned writer.

I would hope to think writing my book and my recovery blog for my book and where I continue to write my recovery journey in many publications helps others. We just never know who our story will touch or help. I wanted others who still suffer or are stuck in the “cycle” of gambling addiction that ‘Suicide Is Not An Option to Stop Gambling Addiction.’

Again, like the woman I had read about in my local newspaper. And like my own two failed suicide attempts when I was deep in my addiction. Suicide is never the answer.

Q.  Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?

A.  Yes, I do feel a press release is very important and has value. Many first time authors can not afford mainstream advertising or hire a PR firm. So a press release sent out through PR websites is a stellar way to let people and literary media places know about your book and it’s release. I do them for my book promoting clients as some PR websites let you send a couple out for free.

A few I like and use are NPR, WEBPR.com, and NewswireToday.com are some good ones. I get some good results in books sales and book reviews.

Q.  Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are underrated, overrated, or don’t matter at all?

A.  Of course, there is value to book reviews for many reasons. Readers who shop for books, let us say on Amazon, they look and read reviews before they buy a book. I know as I do and I am an avid reader! Amazon emails me when someone reads a review I have placed and tells me it helped them decide to purchase.

Reviews on Amazon also helps your book’s rankings among other books in that genre. My book is still in the Top 100 in Paid Kindle E-books at #83 for Gambling Addiction Books. Rankings and tell us as authors how our books sell and compare to other books sold on Amazon. When a reader takes the time to write a review after they read my memoir, I use that as well if they leave suggestions to improve my craft as a writer.

Q.  What is your biggest fear about having a book published?

A.  This question goes back to how I answered your very First Question. I sat on my manuscript for almost a year because of fear. It is more difficult being afraid of how readers would react to my memoir as it is based on truth and is a real story and facts. I also had some fear about what my family would think even though I have been estranged from them for years. But I decided it wasn’t for or about them. My book was about healing and forgiveness for me and insight for readers.

Q.  What is the intended audience for your book?

A.  People in or reaching out to recover from gambling addiction, awareness of mental health, and those who had been sexually or physically abused, went through childhood trauma. Also for readers who want more understanding about these issues.

Q.  Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

A.  The Internet has changed not only the landscape of how authors can easily promote their books throughout social media, but the Internet has also changed how people can find information to get help from addiction and recovery support.

As a book promoter as my in-home business, the Internet has allowed me to work from home and make an income as I still have mental health challenges with Agoraphobia, Depression, and Mood Disorder, the internet has changed the way we do many things for school, work, and not just the bookselling and publishing industry.

Q.  What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

A.  Taking on paid writing jobs has boosted my self-confidence as a writer. That also helped me get the offer to be a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine.” And why I write for several other addiction/recovery publications. For me, it is two-fold. I become a better writer and I have great platforms to showcase my writing while helping others recover.

Q.  What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

A.  I really can’t answer this directly as my book was written very unconventionally. When I was writing at the time, I wasn’t writing a book. That all happened later on.
I do however recommend using some form of writing aide software which I do use.

Q.  Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

A.  All of the above. Especially for therapy and a recovery outlet.

Q.  Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?

A.  None. Seriously. I had none as it all poured out and I just kept writing it all in my notebooks!

Q.  Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

A.
  God created editors for a reason. Lol. My editor was Julie Hall. She works for our local newspaper in Grants Pass, Oregon. She isn’t an editor by profession. But she edits and proofreads for the newspaper. She had taken my six notebooks and performed “magic.” Then she sent the first 50 pages to a publisher friend of hers, and that is how my book made it to being published as Steve from The Kodel Group kept hounding me to publish as to help others!

Q.  What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

A.  For my recovery and helping others is what inspires me to write. If I can help others by sharing my story and experiences through words? That makes me happy. And what a living legacy to leave behind.

Q.  What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

A.  Since I do write a lot and for several publications, coming up with new topics to write about can be a challenge. Writing is very freeing to me. I enjoy it and hopefully continue writing and publishing more books to help others and for readers to also enjoy.

Q. Now lastly, If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

A.  A message of HOPE to others who suffer from addiction of any kind. We can recover no matter how bad or how far addiction has taken you. We all have that tiny sliver of light given by our Higher Power within us to turn our lives around if we want it bad enough. I have learned that recovery is possible and it works if you are willing to work for it. I will be a “work in progress” until my last breath, but the life lessons learned and wisdom gained has been well worth the RIDE!

 

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Books by Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

      Ten the Hard Way: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery (Ten the Hard Way; True

Connect with more from Catherine Townsend-Lyon …

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Learning The Difference! READ THIS Before You Enroll in KDP Select! by Reedsy…

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I enjoy having Guest Posts often here at “The Reading Den” as many of my followers are writers and authors, not only Readers. This post for you. I get asked often if Cat knows the differences between Kindle Unlimited and KDP Select. Well, I DO NOW thanks to this amazing blog post on “Reedsy – Blog.”  HERE WE GO!

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READ THIS Before You Enroll in KDP Select!

Posted in: Book MarketingUnderstanding Publishing

 

We get it: writing a book requires a lot of your time, effort, and money. Taking a book from inception to completion is intense work, and by the time you’re ready to publish you might find yourself referring to your manuscript as “my baby.”

Of all the big decisions you have to make in your journey as a self-publishing author, one of the biggest is whether or not to enroll your ebook in Amazon’s KDP Select: a program which offers authors bonus incentives in exchange for granting Amazon exclusivity.

But going exclusive is a big deal. Are you sure you want to let Amazon put a ring on it before your book has had a chance to test out the other options? Is KDP Select the right choice for you? That’s what we’ll answer in this post, covering all the points in the table of contents (to your left).

Let’s get started with the basics.

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What is Kindle Direct Publishing?

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s ebook publishing unit, which allows authors to sell their books directly to Amazon’s readers. The Kindle and KDP were launched concurrently in 2007, laying the groundwork for Amazon’s ebook empire which now holds more than 80% of the market in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Success stories from authors self-publishing through Amazon KDP began to roll out around 2011, with the popularity of Andy Weir’s The Martian and Wool by Hugh Howey. But they’re not without company: in 2018, Jeff Bezos revealed that over 1,000 authors had earned over $100,000 through Kindle Direct Publishing.

While numbers like these are not the norm for the average writer, KDP has become the heavily preferred route for self-publishing authors — many of whom also decide to enroll in KDP Select. Speaking of which…

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What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is a program available to all authors willing to grant Amazon exclusive rights to sell their ebook through the Kindle store only. By agreeing not to sell the digital file of their book through any other retailers, authors are given access to a variety of promotional tools — the most significant of which is Kindle Unlimited — and the opportunity to earn higher royalties (in some cases, more on that later).

The KDP Select program lasts 90 days, after which authors can either choose to opt out of the program, or auto-renew for another 90-day commitment.

While digital copies of the book must only be sold through Amazon:

  • A 10% sample of the book can be made available outside of the Kindle Store;
  • Print (or any other non-digital) versions can be distributed elsewhere; and
  • Copies of the book can be emailed to reviewers for editing purposes.

So, a higher percentage of sales and additional book marketing tools: sounds pretty good, right? Why would an indie author not want those things? Well, the question of whether to grant Amazon exclusivity or to “go wide” is a constant talking point amongst self-publishing authors, as both options come with their own sets of pros and cons. The biggest and most important proof enrolling in KDP Select is undoubtedly the access to Kindle Unlimited. So before we get too far into discussing the pros and cons, let’s quickly cover exactly what Kindle Unlimited is.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited (KU) is an “all-you-can-read” service that allows subscribers to read as many ebooks as they’d like for $9.99 a month (if you’re thinking “Netflix for books,” you’re on the money). When authors enroll in KDP Select, their books are automatically made available to readers on KU.

Because of the ease with which readers can find books (KU customer receive emails suggesting books based on their reading history), and the ability to “test-drive” many books without having to pay full price for them all, KU has become an extremely popular program. In fact, it has become such a go-to for readers that for many genres, it’s basically impossible for a book to rank well on Amazon if it’s not listed in Kindle Unlimited.

With this major pro of KDP Select in mind, let’s discuss how authors actually make money with KU, and look a little closer at the other perks authors can expect when they marry their ebook to Amazon for 90 days.

The Pros of Enrolling in KDP Select

The main benefits of enrolling in KDP Select include access to:

  1. Kindle Unlimited
  2. Kindle Countdown Deals
  3. Kindle Free Promotions
  4. Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  5. Increased royalties for sales in select countries

The crown jewel of KDP Select’s incentives is, without a doubt, the access to Kindle Unlimited (KU). It’s a topic we covered extensively in our weekly marketing newsletter(to sign up, select “book marketing”), but we’ll start by giving you the KU highlight reel here.

1. Kindle Unlimited

Here’s how authors make money on Kindle Unlimited: at the end of each month, a Kindle Direct Publishing Global Fund is announced. This fund determines how much each title available on KU has earned it authors. For instance, in January 2019, the KDP Global Fund was $24.7 million.

Amazon then determines how this money is split between authors and publishers with a per-page-read royalty — so the more pages of your books are read by KU subscribers, the more money you stand to make.

So let’s say an author has a 300-page book in Kindle Unlimited. In January 2019, the payout per page was $0.0044, so the author will have earned $1.32 for every reader who borrowed and read their title cover-to-cover. (This is regardless of the actual retail price of that book).

You can keep track of the monthly KDP Global fund and per-page-payout amount in this helpful post by Written Word Media.

Kindle Unlimited can be a truly great resource for self-publishing authors, depending on your genre. But it’s not the only incentive KDP Select offers authors. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

2. Kindle Countdown Deals

For one week every 90 days, authors have the ability to discount their book by putting it on a “countdown deal.” Authors continue to earn a 70% royalty on the discounted price, even if it’s priced below $2.99. (Note that authors who run price promotions outside of KDP Select only earn 35% royalties on books priced below $2.99).

There are a couple of eligibility requirements to take part (head here to read them all):

  • The price before the countdown must be between $2.99 – $24.99 on Amazon.com or £1.99 – £15.99 on Amazon.co.uk;
  • The minimum discount is $1 on Amazon.com or £1 on Amazon.co.uk;
  • The title must be enrolled in KDP Select for at least 30 days; and
  • You cannot run a deal if the end of your KDP Select enrollment is 14 days away or less.

3. Kindle Free Promotions

For five days every 90 days, authors can set their book to free. (Note that it can’t be in the same 90-day period as a countdown deal). Both countdown deals and free promotions allow books to appear on the Kindle Store Deals page, promising a boost of visibility.

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4. Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

This is a program open to Kindle owners with an Amazon Prime subscription. Each month, they can choose to borrow one book for free from over 800,00 titles  — with no due date or late return fee to pay.

As with Kindle Unlimited, authors earn a per-page-read royalty for books enlisted in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library program (KOLL), based on the KDP Global Fund.

5. Increased royalties for sales in select countries

KDP and KDP Select authors can earn a 35% royalty on sales both in the US and internationally if their book is priced below $2.99, and 70% royalties on books priced above $2.99 in the US and other select countries. Only with KDP Select can authors earn a 70% royalty for sales in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India.

Suffice it to say, Amazon offers some pretty enticing perks for enrolling in KDP Select. However, as with anything, there is another side to the coin. Let’s take a look at why self-publishing authors might want to cast a wider net.

 

The Cons of Enrolling in KDP Select

The primary reason for an author to go wide is so that they can list their book on as many e-retailers and library distributors as they want, in addition to selling and distributing it through their own author website.

While Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play are the main “competitors” to Amazon, there are literally hundreds of more e-retailers and ebook distributors around the world. You can view them all in our complete guide to ebook distribution.

But if these other distributors and retailers only represent under 20% of the market, should you really bother going wide, if it means missing out on all the incentives KDP Select offers to keep your exclusivity?

Here are some reasons why you might (or should) want to go wide:

  1. In some countries, Amazon isn’t as dominant as it is in the US
  2. You can build a presence outside of Amazon (which can be fickle)
  3. You will have the ability to hit bestseller lists (outside of Amazon)
    …..

1. Access a larger portion of the international ebook market

With around 80% market share, Amazon undeniably wears the crown when it comes to control of the ebook market in the US and the UK. However, this isn’t the case across the globe:

  • In Canada, Kobo alone controls over 25% of the ebook market;
  • In Germany, Tolino and Amazon have equal ebook market share; and
  • In Australia, Apple Books controls about 30% of the ebook market.

So by not going exclusive with Amazon, you allow yourself the opportunity to tap into these markets and better reach a worldwide audience.

Also, while Amazon’s presence in the US is going to be hard to challenge, Kobo’s recent partnership with Walmart does open a new door to readers in America.

2. It’s harder to build a wide presence… but harder to lose it as well

While Amazon might get the most digital foot traffic, you’re also competing with a huge number of other authors and books. Though you might be catering to a smaller pool of customers on other retailers, you might also have better luck gaining a competitive advantage — and grabbing the attention of those readers.

Furthermore, non-Amazon stores (Apple Books, Kobo, B&N, Google Play) are curated in a different way. While Amazon is all about automated algorithms — which can change from one day to another, along with your books’ rankings — these stores are more about human curation. Top visibility spots are curated by merchandising teams (another topic we covered in our marketing newsletter). What this basically means is that, while it generally takes longer (and requires you to publish more books) to get a strong stream of sales from non-Amazon stores, it’s also a much harder position to lose — that is, if you don’t pull your books away and into KDP Select, of course.

3. The ability to hit Bestseller lists (outside of Amazon)

As Nicholas Erik mentions in his helpful post on the topic, the chances of an indie author hitting The New York Times’ Best Sellers list are razor-thin. But other lists, such as the USA Today one, are a lot more within an indie author’s grasp and can be just as much of a boon to a writer’s career.

However, many of these lists — The New York Times and USA Today both included — require that the author is not exclusive to Amazon and is selling their book on at least one other retailer.

Fundamentally, one of the first rules of investing is to not put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re exclusive to Amazon, you’re entirely at their mercy. If they suddenly change their algorithms and your books stop ranking, you might lose a huge portion of your income overnight.

At the end of the day, the decision to go wide or exclusive with Amazon depends on your marketing plan for your book. Which brings us to…

 

Making the call: should you enroll in Amazon KDP Select or not?

Ultimately, the decision on whether you go into KDP Select or distribute wide will be a personal decision. The main factor influencing it is whether you feel okay trusting Amazon 100% with “your babies.”

That said, it’s important to also consider factors like genre and your own marketing strategy.

Luckily, the terms of enrolling in KDP Select only last 90 days, so you can rest assured in the knowledge that it’s not a permanent or years-long commitment. However, whatever your decision is, you should try to stick to it as much as possible. While trying KDP Select for 90 days is certainly worth it, you shouldn’t be jumping in and out of Select. Going wide is a long-term game, and not only does it take years to build a presence on other stores, marketing strategies and best practices also differ between Select and wide books.

Who should consider KDP Select?

If you answer “yes” to the following questions, you should consider enrolling in KDP Select:

  • Are you planning on selling only through the Kindle Store?
  • Does your target market primarily consist of digital readers in the US and the UK?
  • Does your marketing strategy consist of big promotions bolstered by big ad blasts (as opposed to more of a “slow and steady” effort)?
  • Do the bestsellers in your genre include a healthy selection of Kindle Unlimited titles?

That last point is very important and should be a major factor in your decision.

Finding out whether KU is integral to your genre is fairly simple: head to Amazon’s Best Sellers in Kindle Ebooks and narrow it down to just your categories. Go through the top 20 to 100 titles and see what percentage of those books are in KU. If the percentage is high, you might be better off enrolling in KDP Select.

For example, at the time of this article’s writing, the top 20 fantasy, science fiction, romance, and crime fiction books all include over 14 KU titles. (While the top 20 mystery, historical fiction, thriller, and literature and fiction books only contain 12 or fewer KU titles — and self-help, art, and photography, and biographies and memoirs contain less than ten.)

Who should consider going wide?

If large parts of your target market are ebook readers outside of the US and UK, you’re publishing your first book, or you’re writing in a genre with few KU titles in its bestsellers list, going wide might be your best bet.

Going wide is a good choice for patient authors who are thinking of their career in the long-term. As David Gaughan explains in his comprehensive post on the topic, it’s an option that requires long-term growth marketing strategies, such as:

  • An up-to-date author website
  • Growing mailing lists and tested reader magnets
  • Targeted campaigns (such as Facebook ads)
  • Permafree or heavily discounted books/series

Going wide is all about building a readership — and hanging onto those readers. This requires more of a slow but steady mindset: you need to regularly communicate with your readers and invest time and energy into researching and executing email marketing strategies in order to hold their attention. Because, while KDP Select might take advantage of algorithms to help bring readers to your book, going wide is all about finding ways to connect readers to your books yourself.

What’s great about this strategy (which David coins the “drip strategy”) is that, if you do it well, it can result in smaller but steadier reader growth and sales from a number of different places — which eventually adds up to a strong stream of income.

This is not to say you can’t — or shouldn’t — put these drip strategies into effect if you’re exclusive with Amazon. But it’s tougher because you’re at the will of the Amazon algorithm, which has been known to change fairly regularly.

And seeing as your ideal distribution method boils down to your marketing strategy, here are a few final resources to help you make the most of your book launch.

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Bonus Resources

How to Self-Publish a Book on Amazon [blog post]
The Complete Guide to Ebook Distribution [blog post]
EPUB to MOBI converter [tool for Amazon uploads]
50+ Book Marketing Ideas to CRUSH Your Book Launch [blog post]
Winning Amazon’s Secret Popularity Contest [webinar]
How to Launch a Bestselling Book in 7 Steps [webinar]
Book Promotion Services [directory]
Vetted Freelance Marketers for Hire [marketplace]

With all of this in mind, remember that whether you decide to go with KDP Select or open publishing, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. If you use KDP Select’s Countdown Deals or Free Promotions but don’t spend any time advertising your promotions, they won’t lead to much exposure — the whole point of these tools.
If you decide to forgo the increased visibility that can come with Kindle Unlimited, make sure you spend time getting acquainted with the aggregators out there or developing various book marketing strategies — or else the benefits of going wide will end up falling flat.

We hope this post has been helpful in considering the pros and cons of KDP Select vs. going wide, and that you feel more confident in leveraging the route you choose for your book’s success.

 

 

Authoress, Kim Carter Reviews Blowing Away Mystery-Suspense Readers With Her New “A Clara & Iris Mystery” Series.

Fresh off a fabulous Holiday Book Promotion for her new novel series, I caught up with Author, Kim Carter to see what has been happening with her and her successful novel launch held by Raven South publishing at “The Atlanta Water Gardens” where she launched book 2 of the series titled; “Murder Among The Tombstones,” as book 1 has been doing well titled; “Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle.”

Kim was also very excited as her agent submitted her books in several book awards and she is currently in First Place for a TCK Publishing 2017 readers choice award!! If you’d like her to WIN?  You can go here Readers Choice Voting Page to vote for her in the Mystery Category for “Murder” on TCK!

 

 

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Kim let me know it went FANTASTIC and they had about 60 or so attendees and signed many books! They had a book reading from “Murder” and her friend Lissha Sadler, Radio Host at “Lets Chat” and CEO of Writing Royalty Promotions ,  did a fabulous Question & Answer session with Kim. They had a ball! So I asked Kim what’s going on now? She is deep in writing book 3 of her series and just finished a new stand-alone mystery, and so far titled,And The Forecast Calls For Rain.”  She shared it will be a new story that takes place in and around Seattle Washington. So, readers, I can not wait for that new book! So let’s see what readers and book reviewers are saying about Books 1 & 2 of the novel series so far, shall we?

 

Book Reviews And But On Amazon ~ “Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle” and “Murder Among The Tombstones”  Books one and two of  “A Clara & Iris Mystery Series”…


“A mystery suspense thriller in every sense of the word!”

With eminently admirable characters and exquisite imagination ‘Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle’ is a compelling read where author Kim Carter crafts mounting suspense that overwhelms skepticism.

Charming personality of renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Grant Chatsworth lures a small town waitress-Lizzie to a deceptive ‘blissful happy marriage’ until secrets confined within the walls of Buckhead’s finest estates elucidate Lizzie about the darker nasty shades of Grant’s propensity of crime and cruelty. Terrible adversity and troubled faith lead Lizzie to take refuge at her sister Maggie’s doorstep, where destiny has more alarming adventures in store for her.

Author Kim Carter’s read is a mystery suspense thriller in every sense of the word with an intriguing narrative that moves at a breakneck pace, skillfully combined with a writing style that provides vivid mental pictures of the settings and characters sufferings. While many things are not what they seem, everything amazingly connects in a surprising finale.

Entertaining enough to engage even reluctant readers, ‘Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle’ is a powerful 5-star page turner that is highly recommended.   ~Enas Reviews

 

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on November 24, 2017

Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle by Kim Carter. 5 Stars!


What a wonderful exciting suspenseful mystery!

So much intriguing twists and turns it had me completely spellbound.
And omg I fell in love with Clara and Iris, those two old ladies were a hoot. Grant and Lizzy are the couple that the story revolves around, their perfect life is not what it appears to be. He’s a very dangerous man and will go to extremes to accomplish his goal, even trying to eliminate those who double cross him.

Clara the nurse that works for Grant discovers things that not only play a huge part of the core of this story, but she also becomes, along with her friend Iris one of the most hilarious characters ever.

A rich surgeon, a Ponzi scheme, a few murders, 2 old ladies, a deranged housekeeper, some monkeys, and a wife on the run plus a ghost. Hmmmmmm, what would they have in common? Now there is a mystery that is begging to be solved!!

Great Read!!

I have voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book by its author.  ~Reviewer for Nook Books and More Blog.

 

 

Murder Among The Tombstones

 

“Joined by their young apprentice Quita, Clara and Iris are determined to stop at nothing to find the killer before they can strike again. But, will their bodies be the next ones discovered among the tombstones?”

 

 

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Editorial and Reviews: “Murder Among The Tombstones”

Widows on The Case!”

Two crafty septuagenarian widows turned private investigators; a crabby Atlanta cop recovering from a gunshot wound, and a cunning killer who dumps his victims rather appropriately in cemeteries. Those are just a few of the zesty ingredients in Murder among the Tombstones, the latest whodunit by Georgia-based mystery writer Kim Carter. It is a fast-paced, twister of a mystery that keeps you turning pages until the very end. 

Private Investigators Iris Hadley and Clara Samples may be in their seventies, but don’t think they are over the hill. These ladies are witty, wily and with it. A Must Read!

A former correspondent for The Chicago Tribune and Award Winning Author of The Billy Battles Trilogy  ~Ronald Yates…

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on November 9, 2017

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Carter, and I was encouraged to take the plunge and buy the Kindle edition by the positive reviews of others. Boy was I in for a treat! Ms. Carter is an outstanding writer who has very interesting characters and well-thought-out plot and subplots with all the twists and turns that make you want to continue reading the next chapter even though it’s well past your bedtime.
I’m definitely looking forward to her next book, and I’ll be checking out her previous works too!####

 

on December 4, 2017

Murder Among The Tombstones by Kim Carter 5 Stars!

One of the best Intense, Amazing and Hilarious Murder/Mysteries that I have read this year!!

A crime story about two old ladies who are private investigators. Brilliant!!

Clara and Iris have become two characters I absolutely love and can’t wait to see what they investigate and uncover next, lol…

This story also brings back some characters from the book Sweet Dreams Baby Belle. That book is where you first meet Clara and Iris, detectives Pitt and Nettles along with a great cast of new people like Quita and Sugar in this story.

Get lost in a story about a murder mystery that will leave you guessing until the end who did it. It also will leave you laughing at what Clara and Iris do and say.

I absolutely love this book and have found me a wonderful new author that has me captivated by her stories. Touche!

 

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So like these mystery lovers who enjoyed both books 1 & 2 of Author, Kim Carter’s new novel series titled; “A Clara and Iris Mystery” series, come take the plunge with Kim’s books! I know I can not wait for book 3 of the series and her new stand-alone new mystery. Kim loves to engage with all her readers, so come over to her GoodReads Author Page and add her as a friend and even ask her a question or two while you are there. And as always, let Kim know Cat sent you! 🙂