Most authors will tell you “I can only share my own experience.” Nobody wants to piss off Amazon™. It is the number one place to self-publish your book.
However, there are some facts to keep in mind, especially if you are first-time author.
There are two main reasons people self-publish:
- They could not or did not want to go through the maze of getting a traditional publisher
- They wanted to maintain control of their literary product.
With that in mind, realize that when you sign up with KDP Select, you cannot offer the e-book version to anyone else–not a reviewer, not a contest, not a friend. The penalties for doing so are quite strong.
KDP Select puts you on Kindle™ Unlimited with a free version, but you’re competing with over a million other authors. Divide that almost $20 million by over a million. Even if every author was equal, which they aren’t, you’d get $20. Now realize that top authors are the ones pulling the cash. If you’re a brand new author, one nobody knows, what are your chances of making good money in that scenario?
Another point to consider is promoting to Kindle Unlimited users. Nobody knows who they are except Amazon. I tried using Kindle Unlimited as a category for Facebook ads and all I got were Kindle users or people who mentioned Kindle. Kindle Unlimited is a $10-a-month separate charge subscription. That audience is unknown to you, nameless, and you can’t contact them.
At this point, I have stopped running ads, and I’m waiting for the contract to run out. In my experience, paid ads that are not properly targeted to a specific audience are a waste of money.
The way to keep control of your publication is easy.
I have learned the best thing to do is write minimally TWO books. One is free and the others are your income. The free book could be about your writing journey, deleted scenes and background material, or the first book in the series you’re writing. The point is to build your own mailing list (audience and fans) by offering the free book when promoting your second book. If someone wants that, they most likely want to hear more from you.
When I did network marketing, the phrase was always “the money’s in the list.” A customer base that belongs to you is as important as the literary product that belongs to you. Every time you turn over control to someone else, you put your income at risk.
The tried and true way is to accumulate names of people who want what you’re offering. That involves a landing page (a page where someone gets something of value in exchange for their email address) which compiles a mailing list. Podcasts, YouTube, hangouts and other media-based visibility efforts are all good, but a mailing list keeps your future sales under your control.
Help others be successful.
Getting something for nothing never works in the long run. This universe seeks balance. I recommend helping others with reviews if that’s what you want. Buy and read books and find your own favorite authors and write your reviews on Goodreads. Follow other authors. Read articles and subscribe to author websites. Connect with them on social media. At the very least, you’ll learn something.
If you have other tips and tricks of the trade, feel free to share them in the comments.
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