Showing posts with label exclusivity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exclusivity. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1

Does Amazon KDP Select Drive Away True Fans?

"Turn into something Beautiful" by Courtney Carmody under CC BY 2.0

For a while now Kris Rusch, among others, has been saying exclusivity is a bad thing. I never doubted Kris had a good reason for her opinion but, honestly, I had a hard time agreeing with her and felt there must be something, some aspect of her argument, I was missing. (See: Amazon's KDP Select: The Best Long-Term Strategy?)

There was. In her latest business column, Kris ties her opposition of exclusivity--for instance, Amazon's KDP Select program--in with the notion of 1,000 true fans. Now I understand. And, you know what? It makes sense.

Exclusivity Alienates True Fans

Here's Kris' argument (as I understand it) in a nutshell:
Exclusivity alienates true fans.

What is a true fan?

Kevin Kelly, in his famous post 1,000 True Fans, writes:
The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

Exclusivity is to true fans what Kryptonite was to Superman

Kris' point is that restricting your readers accessibility to your books will cost you a lot more than sales, it will cost you true fans.

In order to acquire true fans you need to show them you care about them. Having your books only available through certain outlets, outlets they may be cut off from, is NOT a good way of showing your readers--and your potential readers--you care about them.

Kris writes:
Yes, there is occasionally a marketing reason to be exclusive for a month or two. But only for a month or two and only for one project.

Because to do otherwise pisses off readers. Readers don’t avoid a writer because they get angry at the writer. Readers have short attention spans. If a friend recommends a book at midnight, and a reader can’t find that book online or in her favorite bookstore, the reader might not remember the name of the author or the name of the book a week later.

The sale is lost.
And not just a sale. A potential true fan. Kris continues:
As someone who has fought for more than twenty years to get her books to as  many readers as possible, I find it sad to watch newer writers limit their sales from the get-go. These writers are doing to themselves what I railed at my publishers for doing to me against my wishes and those of my fans.

If you’re thinking about short-term numbers, if you’re thinking about reviews and marketing and “online presence,” then you’re thinking the way that traditional publishers do. And traditional publishers have never been reader friendly. ....

Why follow a model that alienates your fan base when you’re trying to grow your writing business? It makes no sense to me.

Of course, new writers haven’t had the sad task of writing back to fans who can’t find books ...
Kris' article (The Business Rusch: No Reader Left Behind) is a must-read for anyone considering whether to enroll their books in Amazon KDP Select--or any other program that restricts an authors ability to sell his or her books in other markets.

What do you think? Are you convinced that exclusivity is inimical to attracting true fans?

Other articles you might like:
- NaNoWriMo: A Survival Guide
- How To Get Honest Book Reviews
- How To Record Your Own Audiobook: Setting Up A Home Studio

Thursday, September 20

Amazon's KDP Select Program: Is Exclusivity Worth The Perks?

A few days ago I mentioned that the Amazon store in India is now offering a 70% royalty option (Amazon's India Store Now Offers 70% Royalty Option) but apparently I didn't read the small print. Kris Rusch writes:
This week came the news that Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program will offer its content providers a 70% royalty on all sales made in India—provided the content providers go with Kindle Select only. For those of you who don’t know, Kindle Select requires exclusivity from anyone who joins it. You can’t market your work on the iBookstore, for example, or on Kobo if you’re part of Kindle Select. Only on Amazon.
Let me play devils advocate. Many writers I've spoken with say they make upwards of 95% of their sales on Amazon, so selling only through Amazon is not costing them a great deal of money. Further, since Amazon gives them perks like free days and inclusion in the lending library many authors end up selling far more through Amazon than they would have through all the stores combined.

Personally, I thought the above line of reasoning was compelling, but Kris raises an excellent point. She writes:
[M]y own beliefs about maintaining different platforms for my work got reinforced this week after WMG hired someone to input the sales figures for the last six months. We looked at those numbers yesterday. I sell a lot of books on Kindle, but my biggest selling title, a short story called “The Moorhead House,” sold a grand total of one copy on Kindle from January to June.

Every single one of “The Moorhead House”’s rather surprising (to me) sales came on the Nook. For some reason, Nook readers either like or have found or continue to find that one short story. And they buy it more than they buy anything else of mine offered through Barnes & Noble.

If I had joined Kindle Select with that story, I doubt I would have made comparable sales.
I don't think I've read a business post of Kris Rusch's that wasn't well written and well thought out. This one is no exception. If you'd like to read the whole thing here's the the link: The Business Rusch: Content is King.

I'd like to share one more thing with you before I leave. Kris writes:
If you can control the content, then you can control the money.

But here’s the problem with content: it’s not easy to create. If a bunch of monkeys at typewriters could write novels, don’t you think the publishing industry would have conscripted the little buggers decades ago?
I thought that was hilarious! So true.

Other articles you might like:
- How To Format A Word Document For Amazon's KDP Publishing Program
- Lyla Sinclair's 8 Secrets Of Successful Romance Writing
- Indie Books: What Price Is Right?

Photo credit: Karen Woodward

Wednesday, August 8

Update On Amazon's KDP Select Program

Edward Robinson over at Failure Ahoy! has written extensively about his experiences with Amazon's KDP Select program. After trying out various things, here is his tentative conclusion:
[R]iding free runs every 30-40 days can be an effective strategy (although ENT now says they won't mention a book within 60 days of the last time it was free, meaning you're basically down to POI, FKBT, and paid ads for exposure). This can last for several months, anyway. But it appears to be less effective the more you do it, and there is a point where a diminished 30 days of sales + a diminished free run isn't going to be enough to prop you up to a significant place on the pop lists. (Edward Robinson)
Although ER's conclusion seems cautiously optimistic, he has decided to pull his most popular book, Breakers, from the program and and explore what Barnes & Noble as well as Kobo have to offer. This should be interesting. He writes:
Over the last few months, I've grown disillusioned enough with Amazon Select to pull my book Breakers from the program. Yesterday, its exclusivity expired. Today, Breakers is available on Barnes & Noble for the Nook reader.
.  .  .  .
I know that Breakers can sell when it's in front of people, so unlike my other titles, if I can find a way to get it some visibility in the other stores, it should sell. Hypothetically. So how do you find that visibility?
Stay tuned.

Read the rest over at Failure Ahoy!: Exploring Bold New Non-Amazon Frontiers, Day 1: Barnes & Noble.

Other reading:
- More on Amazon Select: Is exclusivity worth it?
- Marketing Strategies For Writers
- The Harlequin Class Action Lawsuit Explained

Friday, July 27

Marketing Strategies For Writers

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I've written several posts about Amazon's KDP Select program and whether exclusivity is worth it. Joe Konrath says it's not, but other authors who sell the overwhelming majority of their books through Amazon appreciate the marketing opportunities the program provides. For instance, being able to offer your book for free and having it included in Amazon's enormous borrowing library.

Here is a case study brought to you courtesy of Dee DeTarsio, author of Haole Wood. Dee enrolled her book with Amazon's KDP Select program and made it free from July 7th to the 11th. During that time she had 5,301 downloads.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Did that translate into lots of sales after it went back to $3.99 per copy? Not exactly. She made 32 sales between July 1st and July 14th and her book was borrowed 14 times. Furthermore, Dee spent $200 in advertising in the first week of July. She doesn't state this explicitly but it seems she spent this money with Amazon.

So here are the figures: 70 percent of $3.99 is about $2.80 and $2.80 times 32 is about 90 dollars. So that means that Dee is down by 110 dollars.

Was it worth it? It's good to keep in mind that advertising can put your work in front of new people, it can gain you exposure. As those 5,301 people read Dee's book I'll bet that a good percentage of them will be interested in reading her other books.

One thing Dee doesn't discuss is whether any of her other books sold better during her one week advertising drive or during her free days. Other authors have noticed when they offer one book for free, or for a reduced price, it's their other books that get the sales bump.

Dee's blog post about her advertising adventure can be read here: A Small-Budget Advertising Experiment.

Update (April 13, 2013): Joe Konrath has recently changed his mind about the worth of Amazon KDP Select. See: Joe Konrath says KDP Select Made Him $100,000 In 6 Weeks.

Related reading:
- How To Increase Your Sales: 6 Tips From A Successful Indie Author
- Mark Coker of Smashwords: $2.99 Is The Best Price For A Book
- Self Publishing: 3 Steps To Success