In the last week, Amazon has made three big announcements, all of which I think have the potential to greatly help indie authors.
The first, and most exciting in my opinion, is the Kindle Countdown Deals. What this means is that authors who publish e-books on Amazon have an easy way of price pulsing/discounting their books, and then advertising it. The catch is it only works for books in KDP Select, presumably to encourage more people to publish exclusively with Amazon. Also, those using KDP Select will have to choose between either a Kindle Countdown Deal or a 5-day freebie promotion period during each 90 days of exclusivity. Though I’m not the biggest fan of KDP Select, since I prefer having my books available on multiple platforms, it’s a pretty cool tool.
Basically, authors can give limited time discounts on their e-books, and customers can see a countdown for how long the promotion lasts, as well as how big a discount they get. According to the press release, authors can choose to make the promotion last anywhere from one hour to seven days, and they receive a 70% royalty, even if the book is priced less than $2.99. Discounts must be at least $1.
One of my favorite indie authors, Ron Glick, is running a Kindle Countdown Deal that started today and lasts until November 13. For the next seven days, his book The Wizard in Wonderland (which I highly recommended in my review) will be heavily discounted, starting at 99 cents today and slowly increasing over the next week until it hits its normal price of $3.99.
Ron has also created an event on Goodreads, where he announced that every Thursday of this month he will do a Kindle Countdown Deal for one of his books. I’ve loved all the novels he’s written, so anyone who participates is getting a really good deal. You can read more details about his event here.
Okay, Amazon announced this one a long time ago, but Kindle Matchbook just went live on October 29. For indie authors, this means you can choose to bundle their print and e-books. This allows customers who buy or have bought print books to get the e-book version at an either heavily discounted price or free. As an example, if you were to purchase the print version of Ron’s The Wizard in Wonderland, you would have the option of purchasing the e-book version for 50% off, at $1.99 instead of $3.99. (I’ve also recently enrolled my novella, The 13th Cycle.)
Kindle Matchbook also applies to some traditionally published titles. In the press release, Amazon said it applies to purchases dating to 1995, and there are already over 70,000 books enrolled in the program.
Last, but not least, is Kindle First. This one doesn’t necessarily help out indie authors, but it does help boost sales of books by encouraging pre-orders. Amazon’s editors will be choosing a few books each month in some of the most popular categories one month before the books are set to be released. Amazon Prime users can choose one of the book each month for free, and other customers can choose one book and pay only $1.99.
Speaking of pre-orders, Smashwords this summer introduced a pre-order option for its authors. This probably actually helps out more indie authors, because anyone who publishes with Smashwords can choose to have their books available on certain retailer sites (Apple, Nook, and Kobo) ahead of their publication date. Ultimately, this can help drive marketing efforts and increase sales before a book is released, which can potentially drive a book up a best seller list.
We live in exciting times for indie authors! If you’ve heard of or are using some new, cool, innovative marketing tools, please let me know in the comments.