Monday, January 26, 2015

Using Amazon as a Marketing Tool

...before they use you.

Kindle Unlimited—started in July and conceived by Amazon—is for die-hard readers. Participants pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and can read as many books as they want. The catch is, not all books are included in the program.

How does the program help authors?

Payout started in the $2.20 range but has dropped since to 1.43 in December. It had declined to approximately $1.33 until the last month's bump. 

Readership is up. The author can rake in new readers and get name recognition in that way. 

It is voluntary. No one is holding a gun to the authors’ head and insisting on their participation. I used it as a marketing tool for my prequel to The Magic Withheld series, Out of Magic, because the novelette was never intended as a money-maker. 

But the other books I've, I’m not so willing to do this.

Some are happy with KU. Others are not. Some are pulling out of KU due to a massive loss of sales. 

The problem? Too many books. Amazon tends to market for their own benefit. The company is geared for profits and getting that monthly $9.99 fee is gravy. The number of e-books especially self-published has exploded from 600,000 in 2010 to 3 million in 2014. Amazon has an endless supply of books. 

They don’t really need yours.

Depressing? I’ll say. But it is a fact that some writers fantasize so much about the words published author that they take a few short cuts and publish before crossing the molten lava of critique. Their books go into the caldron with authors who have gone through the fire, formatted correctly, polished their grammar. Kinda dilutes the mix in a way. Plus creates a skeptical public who notice poor writing.

Amazon highlights their Kindle Unlimited and that goes for the books in that program. Where does it leave those who don’t participate? Their sales show the same dip that KU authors report. 

The only way to combat the trend is to keep your name and brand in front of readers. Examples:

Author page on Amazon. Make a page. For Pete's sake, take the time to make a doggone page.

Social networks. Yep, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are becoming wall-to-wall ads. But get your name into them anyway. New books and authors have caught my eye more than once and I’ve bought a lot of books that way.

Connect the two. Set up your author page on Amazon with your social networking.

And for heaven’s sake, blog. Post occasionally and link that to your FB page and Amazon author page.

There are ways to use Amazon and service them as well as yourself. Don't let them call all the shots. 


  1. Everyone has said sales have dipped since Kindle Unlimited began. Just means we have to try harder.

    1. I fall back on my generation's motto: Keep On Truckin'

  2. One person said there was too much in Kindle Unlimited, and not enough of what they wanted, so they stopped their subscription. But then they did find one use--writing-craft books. Those how-to-improve guides are a great resource when you can pick them up on an unlimited basis. That doesn't bode well for us fiction writers, but it's an interesting though on how to use KU.

  3. KU is one of those Amazon things where we can see how things end up in the wash, or if the program itself will wash out. Time will tell.

    Time will also tell the authors that are in the biz for the long haul and those just trying to make a quick buck without the work required. In the end, I'm following Dory's advice to "just keep swimming."

  4. It's a great idea. I'd love a place where I could read all my favorites. But the exclusive thing is what makes that doubtful.

  5. Thanks for the reminder about Amazon Author Page. I went to mine and updated it. Should take a day or so for the changes to be reflected.

  6. I have the Kindle Unlimited feature, and find I don't use it as much as I thought. The books I really really want but can't afford are not listed. I rarely find an excellent read.

  7. I used the KU feature for some of my short stories and I think it's a book feature for things like that. I don't really want to lend my novels that way though. I keep trying to social network . . . but well, sales are what they are. I'm with the Dory advice - "just keep swimming." :)


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