Having been on Kindle Select for several months now, I feel slightly qualified to discuss its merits. They are many. When I ran my first Free Promotion, one of Kindle Select’s main advertising features, I worried that everyone who wanted my book would snap it up for free, I would make no money and never sell another book. It’s hard to quantify the magnitude of the world’s reading audience. And the spread of tablets and e-readers.

There are a lot of people out there, folks, who buy books for electronic gadgets! The problem is reaching them. Unfortunately, just as there are a lot of readers, there are a lot of e-books for them to read. I once talked to an Amazon Support person who told me that books are e-published at the rate of 200 a day. That was a couple months ago [now several years ago], the rate has gone even higher.

So how do you stand out from the competition? Kindle Select’s Free Promotions, that’s how. People can search in any category for free books. Before Amazon’s front page changed, they used to have deals there, and my free promotions would show up, rotating with other free books. Just to give an idea of what can happen, and I’m not even a bestseller (yet, the eternal hopefulness of the author), my first promotion for my first book, I sold 1241 books in 2 days. My second book’s first Free Promotion, in 2 days, sold (for free, let’s not forget) 2,565 books!

But what happens afterward is wonderful and mysterious. Far from having reached your only audience and everyone who wanted your book now has it and you have earned nothing, the sales pick up. In my case, I went from just a few a month to several a DAY. Amazon does ask their authors to keep their sales private, but just think. One Free Promotion, and even after it was over, my sales still continued. And at a higher rate.

You also want ratings. Stars for people to look at at a glance, ‘is this book worth my time.’ My chiropractor told me when he does surveys, it takes 300 happy customers to get 1 – count ’em, ONE – person to send in a good review. I say on Amazon the rate is much, much lower. When I see books with 100 or 200 ratings, I wonder how long it took them to get that many.

The other advantage of Kindle Select is that it opens up other countries. Don’t think for a minute that you will be fine if your book just sells in the US. My books, the first 2, are based in ancient Israel. Americans got my books when they were free, but I gotta say, Americans (and I include myself in this group) love a bargain. Free Promotions earn you nothing. It makes happy customers, it increases the odds of you getting those all-important stars, but you will earn zip. I have discovered that in other countries, people still buy books for real money. At least my books. Perhaps my next books will strike a cord in the U.S., but these first two have found a home someplace else and are residing there happily. Which makes me happy, too. And it’s early days yet. I’ve only been out for 6 months, I have years ahead of me to grow my audience.

And let’s not forget the advantages of Amazon Prime. Prime members can check out Kindle Select books for free and keep them as long as they want. AND YOU GET PAID WHEN THEY ARE READ! Let me tell you, Amazon Prime members check out Kindle Select books! This is a very valuable source of income for Kindle Select authors. You get paid nicely.

And now the latest and newest sales weapon in the Kindle Select author’s arsenal: The Countdown Deal. My books are inexpensive, but when I did my first Countdown Deal early this month, I got 2 options, 99 cents and $1.99. You can run the Deals for an extended time (I didn’t look to see just how extended, I only did 2 days), you can have the price change, and a clock runs so people who have been debating your book can see just how long they have before the price goes back up. Plus, Kindle has an option on the bar on the left for Countdown Deals. And people look there!

So after all this, do I recommend joining Kindle Select? You bet I do!

(original blog date 11/21/2013)

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