Monday, May 21, 2012

Swan Song to KDP

Alas,  it has become painfully clear that  KDP may no longer a friend to the Indie author. There may be a few exceptions, but as of late, the Kindle Free Days dream seems to be over. 

Or is it?

If you are not familiar with Amazon's KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Program, it's simple.  Writers agree to publish their books to Kindle- exclusively. You cannot sell your books anywhere else.  In exchange, you are given the opportunity to offer your book free, for five days in a 90 day period. 

In the beginning, authors were suspicious.  We didn't want to exclude all the other sites that were selling our books. We worried about getting locked in that 90 day time frame of exclusivity. 

However this was an opportunity to get our precious books out in the world. Dozens, hundreds, even thousands could download our books.  There was a possibility that
throngs of adoring fans would be drawn to our work. They might even  fall in love with our books; with our babies, and then tell all of their friends. And we could beam with joy, like proud parents..

As the first few pioneers braved the new frontier, they came back with tales of delight.  

Russell Blake    blogged about his 10,000 downloads and the incredible spikes in sales after the Free Days Promotion.  He even explained the elusive "Amazon Algorithm".  

R. S. Guthrie joyfully reported that during his promotion of one book, L.O.S.T.,  his other book climbed the charts to dazzling heights.

 "My book, Black Beast, new cover and all, was at #28 PAID in Horror! More than that, three slots above me was my childhood hero,Stephen King!!"

There have been collaborative successes like the Free Partay group that has boosted many books in to the Kindle Top 100, causing astronomical downloads and then outstanding sales.  The Indie Book Collective, specifically through the FREE Par-Tay/IBB events, "...planned to make ebook promotion supersonic!"

Suddenly, everything changed.  The magic was vanishing quickly.  Even the pioneers could sense that something was amiss...

JD Currie  wanted to investigate this phenomenon. He is tracking the experiences of multiple authors, requesting that others sharing their experiences.  

Phoenix Sullivan  became suspicious and started to look in to a possible "price bias".  In fact,  Edward Robertson did some extensive research and found that the new algorithm, along with this price bias could prove deadly to the indie author. 

Wait! It appears that all is not lost-  I  bring you new hope!  

Edward Robertson decided he would try an experiment, and went all out with a three day free promo.  His results were a happy surprise!  A day and half after the promo ended, Ed's book, 'Breakers', was downloaded by 26,000 readers and has (so far) enjoyed 173 sales, 93 borrows and was sitting pretty in the charts:

Ed says, "Anyway, what does this mean long-term? I don't know. I'm trying not to know just yet, because I don't want to get my hopes up. But prior to this free run, Breakers was #121 on the Technothrillers popularity list and worse than #500 on Science Fiction > Adventure. On day three of its run, it improved to #10 Technothriller and #27 Sci-Fi > Adventure. Right now, it's #8 and #24. I'm guessing sales will slow down after an initial rush, but hold, driven by the pop lists, at a decent clip, for an unknown length of time. If that happens, I will be a very happy Ed."

I'm going to take a chance and follow Ed's example.  I'm going to go into my Kindle Free Days with a positive attitude!.  Hiren's Magical Adventure' will be free for two days started 5/22 and running through 5/23/2012.  Thank you Ed!

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