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Kindle Countdown Promotion

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message 1: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Hi, and welcome to Taming Amazon. I'd like to start the discussion by talking about the Kindle Countdown promotion on Amazon. I recently used the promotion and have mixed feelings about it. I was happy with the increase in sales it brought, but I think the requirements to use it are too strict.
Your price has to be at least $2.99 and not have changed for 30 days. Since I regularly experiment with different prices, this is a problem for me.

Have you tried the promotion or do you plan to try it in the future?


message 2: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Roberts | 18 comments I have tried the promotion on 2 books and did not see a bump in sales. I was disappointed. Is the purpose to create a sense of urgency? Gotta buy it while I can at this great deal? Creating urgency in a world of millions of books seems like screaming on a NY street corner. Who cares and who hears? I am not sure the Groupon mentality converts well to books. I have had much better results with KDP Select's free promotions.


message 3: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Hi Sherry,
I agree, the purpose of the Countdown is to create a sense of urgency. Did you list your promotion on many of the websites like, Pixel of Ink, eReader Utopia, and Bargain eBook Hunter? I'm sure that's what made the difference for me. Maybe after Countdown has been around for a while, it will be more popular. But I wonder if it will ever be as effective as the free promotion.

Do you use Amazon exclusively, or have you tried other retailers?


message 4: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Roberts | 18 comments I did not list my promotion in many websites. I need to develop a good list for that sort of thing. Do you have one? It would be a good resource for this group.

As part of KDP Select, I cannot sell my ebooks that are in the program anywhere else. I do sell my physical books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, local retailers, and my own website. Of course, the eBooks are the lion's share of my sales.


message 5: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (last edited Feb 12, 2014 01:43PM) (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Yes, I have a very extensive list of websites and facebook groups that I use for promotion. I've started listing them in the "Resource" folder of this group:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...

I'll list more soon.


message 6: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Hayworth (goodreadscomjenhay) | 31 comments I ran a 2 day KDP select giveaway recently for newly published memoir (unknown author) and only having one 5 star review on amazon. I was therefore relatively happy with the results therefore (1300 downloaded - the second day I had forgotten was some big sporting event is USA which impacted significantly) as 1100 downloads were on first day.

I have been selling a couple of ebooks each day since and a softcover book each day since. I feel if I can get some positive reviews up before the next giveaway I will get significantly more downloads and resulting sales. I suppose getting book noticed and reviews is first priority for me as unknown author. I have not tried the countdown deals. Also some of the big traffic paid sites to advertise your giveaway only accept listing your book once 8-20 5 star reviews up. So I feel where you advertise your giveaway will impact your downloads and resulting sales. But chicken and egg situation. As you need reviews to get listed but you running giveaway to "get reviews" in beginning.

Next book I will call for beta readers for final draft through twitter prior to publication with request for them to list reviews on Amazon on day of publication in return for free final copy of ebook.


message 7: by Roger (last edited Feb 12, 2014 11:34PM) (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments I think we need to remember that there are around 2000 KDP promotions going on at any one time so the analogy of shouting on a NY street corner is perfect. I've used the countdown deal as part of a Goodreads review group; there are around 16 of us, we each download each other's book at $0.99 then review at least 4 of them. So, we get increased sales, improved ratings and reviews. This works but it's no golden bullet; I think that promotion is just a long slog.


message 8: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I've been part of the Goodreads review group and it's a great way to get reviews, as long as you have the time to read a few books. The effect of having 15 sales all at once really increases your Amazon ranking, but only for a short time. The key is to have your book in a category that you'll be able to be one of the top ten. Then, if enough people see you, you'll get more sales. Eventually, you should move to a larger category so you’ll have the chance to be seen by a larger group.

As Roger says, it's a long slog.


message 9: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments After five days of KDP Countdown, the results are encouraging. I didn't expect a miracle and didn't get one but, to date, I've had 28 downloads of the main book I'm promoting and 4 downloads for other books that are not part of the countdown deal, so there's a knock-on effect. Plus, I combine it with tweeting and have a lot of additional hits on my blog which is connected to Twitter.


message 10: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Roger, it sounds like you're doing well with the Countdown. Are you promoting it anywhere?


message 11: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Nowhere else. I really wanted to isolate Amazon KDP Countdown because I blog about to other interested self-pub writers, warts and all at http://rogerjhardy.wordpress.com/


message 12: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Hayworth (goodreadscomjenhay) | 31 comments Jim wrote: "I've been part of the Goodreads review group and it's a great way to get reviews, as long as you have the time to read a few books. The effect of having 15 sales all at once really increases your A..."

Hi Jim,

I agree re having your book in the right categories. I only just have understood the importance of this and emailed Amazon to change them for me - which they did within 3 days. Next time I run a promotion it should really improve. That being said my kindle book category did well with it coming to no 2 in free list on day of promotion for a time. My categories are still correct and relevant but am in much more defined smaller categories now than previously. I can see how amazon will start to push your book for you once you start reaching near top of your category regularly.


message 13: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
It can make a big difference if you're on the first page of a category when people are browsing.

Making sure your categories are still relevant is extremely important. The last thing you want is to have someone expecting your book to be an adventure thriller and end up binge disappointed to find out it's a romance. Those 1 star reviews can really hurt.

Congratulations for reaching #2!


message 14: by Cris (new)

Cris Pasqueralle | 2 comments Hi all. I'm using the free promotion days on amazon this coming weekend and I have been posting them on every promotion website I can find. When I get some results I'll let everyone know how it did and we can all get a better understanding of how well the free days really work.


message 15: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Great, thanks for letting us know! I'll be sure to download your book, Destiny Revealed. I look forward to reading it.


message 16: by Jay (new)

Jay Storey (jayallanstorey) | 6 comments Just a warning to any non-Americans planning to use Kindle Countdown. Unless they've changed it, the Countdown discount is only available in the US or UK. I'm a Canadian. I set up a Kindle Countdown for my YA novel 'Eldorado', and when I checked the site I was shocked to find my book was still listed at full price!

It turned out that the Countdown was in effect, but as a Canadian it was basically impossible for me to see it (even on Amazon.com!). I had to contact a friend in the US to tell me what the current price was.

Also, if you tweet about the Countdown you risk looking like a liar, because it's only visible to those in the US.


message 17: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Yes, I've had that experience as well. I joined a Goodreads '99 cent' review group but the Canadian member couldn't get the 99 cent price so refused to download it. In addition, although I set up my Countdown deals on .com and .co.uk, the price for me in Portugal, was still $1.22 as they add national taxes. I also cannot see the UK price, only the .com price. I have to ask my darlin' daughter. So, countdown deals are great for the US and UK but if you're not in the US or UK, you've may have problems. I always knew there was a good reason to be either American or British!


message 18: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Incidentally, the results of my Countdown deal were encouraging, with 54 downloads, of which 14 were the review group. So, 40 were downloads from people who've never heard of me and I made it to #11 political thriller on .co.uk and in the top 10,000 (UK). I was, however, very active on twitter and my blog.


message 19: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Hi All, Whew, thanks for letting me know that you can't see the Countdown in Canada, Jay. Mine was supposed to begin this morning, and I can't see it at all on .com and I have spent the last hour panicking. I am really surprised though that I can't see it on .com myself - how does it know I am not American? Now I need to find an American friend to check it for me. If there is anyone here willing to do a quick check I would be forever grateful. It is called A Pair of Docks and it is supposed to be .99 today.


message 20: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Hi Jennifer, it's $0.99 here in Portugal on .com. Good luck but get active on twitter to tell the world about it!


message 21: by Jay (new)

Jay Storey (jayallanstorey) | 6 comments Jennifer,
Yes, I don't know how they do it. Amazon.com is the American site, and we can see it, but not the Countdown. I spent quite a lot of time trying to see it and never had any luck.
I can't help you myself, but maybe one of our American contributors can.

Jay


message 22: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Thanks so much Roger! I will now tweet about it - I didn't want to before in case it wasn't actually on sale.

Jay, I have done the same :-) - tried every which way to see it. It would just be nice to see it so I even knew how it looked - I understand there is a countdown thing but curious if they change anything else. Us Canadians may never know :-). Now curious what other things we don't get to see...


message 23: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments They know which country you're in! Amazon's eyes are everywhere and their pricing policy is quite opaque. But, Amazon is Amazon. I sometimes wonder whether we're dealing with something a little diabolical but I've chosen to sup with the devil because it's the biggest devil around.

Jennifer: Be active on twitter but vary the tweets a lot. Tweet a few times a day but don't overdo it 'cos it upsets people. I hit the 'wake-up' and 'early evening' slots in UK, US East coast and Pacific.


message 24: by Jay (new)

Jay Storey (jayallanstorey) | 6 comments My friend in the US actually sent me a screen-shot of it (it looked very nice!), so I at least had visual confirmation that it was happening. But I got an email from a guy living in Japan who said it wasn't reduced there (though he bought it anyway!), and I had to apologize to him.


message 25: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Hi Jennifer, I've taken a screen shot of your promotion so you can see it. Here is a link to it:
http://jimsgotweb.com/wp-content/uplo...

Jennifer wrote: "Hi All, Whew, thanks for letting me know that you can't see the Countdown in Canada, Jay. Mine was supposed to begin this morning, and I can't see it at all on .com and I have spent the last hour p..."


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll check this out, thanks Jim, I didn't know about it :)


message 27: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Thanks so much Jim! Love the screen shot. The challenge now is figuring out which countries it is on sale in - I am wondering if it is just the US. This makes it challenging for marketing it as a lot of the advertisers I have used probably have international mailing lists and subscribers, although potentially a larger percentage of them will be in the US. Still, it would seem like false advertising to those who are not. I am wondering if Amazon is still kind of sorting this Countdown thing out itself.


message 28: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Roger, I have tweeted a bit, but I tend to be a low tweeter as I am just not sure if it works - which is why I find your 'don't buy my book' tweet suggestion so amusing (and potentially effective). I paid for a tweet campaign in early January and I don't think I sold a single book as a result.


message 29: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments I've never paid for a tweet service and I think that the automatic retweet software is obvious and a bit irritating. My 'do not buy this book' tweet worked; I didn't sell one! However, by combining tweeting with the Countdown deal resulted in 57 downloads. That's an advantage of the Countdown deal: it gives you something legitimate to tweet about.


message 30: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (last edited Feb 19, 2014 12:00PM) (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Jay is right. The US and the UK are the only Amazon sites that show the Countdown. I didn't realize this and it's surprising that Amazon doesn't make it more clear. I've emailed them to get more information,I'll let you know what they say.


message 31: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (last edited Feb 19, 2014 12:04PM) (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Amazon replied, here is a copy of the email:

Hello Jim,

Yes your understanding is correct. Currently customers only from the US and the UK will be able to see the Kindle Countdown price.

This is because majority of the customers who usually purchases book from the Amazon Kindle Store resides in the US and the UK and therefore we started our Kindle Countdown Deal promotion for these two countries alone. Our business team is continuously working making these KCD promotion available for more countries in the future. Also I've shared your interest to have this in more countries to them for consideration which will help us in expediting the process while we try to make future improvements to our KDP platform.

Please keep checking our forums periodically for an update:
https://kdp.amazon.com/community

Regards,

Clifford
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com


Jim wrote: "Jay is right. The US and the UK are the only Amazon sites that show the Countdown. I didn't realize this and it's surprising that Amazon doesn't make it more clear. I've emailed them to get more in..."


message 32: by Jay (new)

Jay Storey (jayallanstorey) | 6 comments Yes, as a Canadian, I don't think I'd do another Kindle Countdown until it's at least visible in Canada. I sold a few books, but I don't think it was worth it.

Even if it was visible to me I'm not sure I'd use it until they make it more widely available. The biggest problem (even for Americans) is that if you use twitter a lot, as I do, it's difficult to explain in 140 characters that a promotion is only available in certain countries.

It's probably true that most sales are achieved through Amazon.com, but if you're tweeting to an international audience it still makes you look like a liar everywhere else.


message 33: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Thanks so much for checking up on this Jim. I agree with you Jay, I probably won't do one again. It is too bad as it is otherwise a great feature.


message 34: by Jay (new)

Jay Storey (jayallanstorey) | 6 comments I hope they iron out the bugs, because I think it's a good idea. I like it better than putting your book up for free.
Hope your promotion is going well, Jennifer (or went well, I can't tell!). Your book looks interesting.


message 35: by Linda (new)

Linda Rawlins (lindarawlins) | 3 comments Wish I had read all this last week. My book is going on countdown tomorrow - I didnt use websites and wish I had Jim's list last week. Had a few friends Share message on FB tho - will let you know -


message 36: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Linda, you need to do more to take advantage of the Countdown Deal to let people know that your fantastic book is there, otherwise it's just one more book amongst the 2000 on any particular day. Blogging is good but Twitter is best. The Countdown Deal is marketing but it's no use without publicity.


message 37: by Linda (last edited Feb 20, 2014 12:31PM) (new)

Linda Rawlins (lindarawlins) | 3 comments Thanks Roger - I will send out Twitter messages - at least I have some followers. Fatal Breach (not marketing - Jim) is my only book on KDP. To be honest, I've been with KDP a long time and have had no extra sales and only one library download so it has not been effective for me but I haven't been aggressive about these promotions so my fault there. I also need to learn how to market more effectively in general. I thought I would try this promotion before I consider taking this book off KDP. Thanks


message 38: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Linda, don't take it off Amazon! Amazon's where it's at! I did a KDP promo for a week and got 57 downloads from people I didn't know, and that's the key to it. OK, that's nota lot but it's a start. Friends and family are fine but you only start to make it when strangers download your book. They do it on the basis of your blogging and tweeting plus word-of-mouth plus maybe Amazon ratings if you're lucky. Amazon KDP gives you something to tweet about. Then there are the promo websites such as Alan Kealey's http://www.alankealey.com/ which I'm going to try next. Believe me, you can have the best book written in the history of mankind but if no one knows it's there, you're shouting in the wilderness. Better to shout on a New York street corner!


message 39: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I used Smashwords for my first book to have them send it to Barnes & Noble, Apple, and other places. I wanted to see what kind of sales I'd get. I also placed it on Amazon, and the sales on Amazon were more than all the other sites combined.

The one thing great about Smashwords is that once the customer buys your book, they can download it in multiple formats. Their market share is small now, but I think it will continue to increase.


message 40: by Linda (new)

Linda Rawlins (lindarawlins) | 3 comments Thanks for the help - I will give it all I can tomorrow and let you know results!


message 41: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Allan (nancyallan) | 4 comments I just used KDP's Countdown deal. Sales totaled 45 for both the US and UK. This was an improvement on recent KDP FREE promotions. Since Amazon introduced the Countdown deal last fall, my FREE promotions have resulted in almost no sales, whereas previous to that, sales from FREE promotions used to range from $150 to $1500 each time. I guess the good old days are over.


message 42: by Greg (new)

Greg Dragon (gregdragon) | 5 comments I too did a KDP Free promotion Nancy with a terrible return afterwards. My fault for following outdated advice but it's now on a lot of Kindles which I am hoping translates to more reviews.


message 43: by Jay (new)

Jay Storey (jayallanstorey) | 6 comments I did a KDP Free promo around Christmas and had so many downloads I ended up trying to discourage people from downloading, afraid of giving too many away. Even so I gave away almost 4000 books and made it to #78 in the free rankings. Afterwards I sold about fifty right away, a few after that, then almost nothing, though I did get 10 new reviews.

I recently did another KDP promo for my other book. It was nowhere near as successful in terms of downloads, and I only reached #590. So far I've gotten one additional sale, and no reviews (though it's early yet).

I think I actually made a mistake not trying to give away more the first time. I think that the goal of any promo needs to be to get into the top 100 on Amazon. If you don't do that, I don't think you're going to accomplish much.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

I've not done the countdown yet but have reduced the book price to 77p / 99 cents. I'll see how it goes :)


message 45: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I understand what you mean about being stressed, Lynn. I feel the same way about my first book. I plan to make it permanently free and add a link and the 1st chapter of my new book to the end of it as a preview.


message 46: by Sherry (last edited Feb 27, 2014 05:17AM) (new)

Sherry Roberts | 18 comments I have discovered a great series of blog posts called the Discoverability Series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I highly recommend it. Read the posts in order and then think about your marketing plans. One of Rusch's big deals is worry less about marketing and write more. And this woman has written a ton. http://kriswrites.com/business-rusch-...


message 47: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Hi All, I promised to give an update on my Kindle Countdown Promotion. I would not say I sold a huge number of books, but certainly way more than I had before with a regular 99 cent promotion. I managed to sell 60 in one day which boosted me to number one in my category on Amazon for a few days, which was fun.


message 48: by Roger (new)

Roger Hardy (goodreadscomroger_hardy) | 11 comments Yeah, that's my experience. Countdown + twitter + blogging results in about 60 sales if you are completely unknown as most of us probably are. So, it's not the answer to success but it helps. It should result in more reviews, then they can be tweeted with the book at full price, but after my Countdown deal ended, so did the downloads, more-or-less. My experience this month has been that it's a lot of work with limited results but it's a start. Next month I'm going to try a promo with Alan Kealey's Indie Author News (http://www.indieauthornews.com/) to see what effect that has. There's a cost involved but it's not much and worth a try. As for free offers, it's a good way of getting lots of downloads and moving up the ratings charts but that's only temporary. I don't know what we have to do to reach critical mass, by which I mean that 60 downloads in a week means you rank about #12,000. To reach the top 10, you need over 2000 per day! Dream on.


message 49: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Hi Roger, the Indie Author News sounds interesting. Be sure to keep us informed on how it goes for you.


message 50: by Michele (new)

Michele Miller (michelewmiller) | 8 comments For those who are paying for promotion on some of these sites, I suggest checking the website on Alexa.com. Some of the promotional webpages have very few people viewing and even fewer people reading more than one page. If my book isn't going to be seen, I'm not wasting my money.


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