Monday, January 27, 2014

Amazon's Automatic Updating Service

Did you know that you can opt to receive updates automatically for some of your Kindle books? A new book version will be made available after they confirm that improvements were made to your Kindle book. I just found out about this tool and I think it's a great idea. Too bad it's still a bit buggy.

Case in point: The Priestess and the Ravenknight ebook I promoted at Amazon's KDP last autumn. After the first promotion, I decided to go over the ebook file again and revised it. I didn't make many changes, but I am happier with the newest version.  Then when I ran another 3-day free promotion at KDP, I wanted to download the newest version to my Android and Cloud Reader. The end result was that I got the same old version even though I deleted the copies I had on both readers. I tried it again and again, thinking it was just "operator error."  Well, it wasn't.

Fortunately, KDP has a good Help Chat Service at their site and I didn't have to wait long at all to get someone who fixed the problem. The rep had me remove the ebook from both my Android and Cloud Reader once more. Then I downloaded my ebook again and checked. This time the copy I got was the most current and best available. I don't know why the automatic updating tool did not work. I decided to check with a friend and had her check her copy and she also had problems with the automatic updating tool. In the end she ended up going the same route I did so a rep could reset and send her the latest copy of The Priestess and the Ravenknight.

It troubles me that after two free promotions, there may be readers out there that only have the old versions of my ebook. You should NOT have to pay for the newest copy even though the promotion days have ended. Please log into your Kindle account and go to Manage Your Kindle
and see if you have even opted for Automatic Updates. If you are opted in, you should see a message saying that you have an update. If you do as it says, you should get any new versions of ebooks that have been updated since your original purchase. Be careful if you use this service as it will remove any annotations or bookmarks you may have made in those Kindle ebooks.  

If you do not get the new update or if you are not even sure you did, I recommend you look up at the menu tool bar (once logged into and click on HELP.  Look to the left column under TOPICS and click on KINDLE.  Under QUICK SOLUTIONS click on the button "Contact Us"  and scroll down the list of methods you want to use for contacting Amazon KDP.  You can use Phone, Email or Chat. I chose the chat option and got a rep almost instantly.  I explained the problem and she was able to guide me through the steps, which were the same ones I did before but this time she reset something on her end and made the update available to me. Once I verified I got the newest copies on my Cloud Reader and Android I thanked her and decided I should write you all today about this.

If you downloaded my ebook or have a library of Kindle ebooks, you may find the Automatic Update service useful in ensuring you have the best copy of your ebooks at hand. If you have any questions or problems with it, know that their Chat Reps are highly recommended and I will use them again for their fast and excellent help.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Experience with KDP Select

Now that I am feeling stronger and healthier, I am happy to be back at my laptop to write about my plans to leave Kindle's Direct Publishing Select when it comes up for renewal at the end of this month. I am still using Kindle Direct Publishing for selling my books as Kindle ebooks but KDP Select is a program by KDP as a way to help ebook authors promote their works. It sounded like a great program to try out with my novella, The Priestess and the Ravenknight (P&R). By signing up and promising to sell P&R exclusively through KDP Select offered the follow (copied from their site) :
1. Earn higher royalties and earn your share of the KDP Select Global Fund amount when readers borrow your books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Plus, earn 70% royalty for sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico.
2. Maximize my book's potential by using their two promotional options: Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting for your book while earning royalties; or Free Book Promotion where readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time.
3. Help readers discover your books by making them available through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and reach the growing number of Amazon Prime customers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Japan. 

It was all free and so I thought to give it a try. I filled out the forms and entered appropriate key words and categories that best described my book. I began spreading the word via emails and social networks. I spoke about it with my fellow writers locally and some of them also tried it. I did several free promotions and even tried the Kindle Countdown deal for a short time. 

All with very limited success. 

I'm not going to grumble or complain about KDP. Amazon did as they promised. I had no problems with them. I can only guess that I haven't marketed enough or correctly. If they did any promoting of my novella, I never saw it. I never got email promos or ads about my ebook so I am not even sure if anyone did.  I tried a email campaign service also and it helped a little. My download numbers were a meer few hundred at best. So how can readers try out my book if they don't know about it? How can KDP Prime members borrow the book if their can't find it. Heck, I couldn't find it without using the URL I copied and saved. My novella was buried or lost where it was difficult to find amongst so many many other ebooks available at Amazon KDP.  During my second enrollment I tried other keywords and categories and kept promoting as I could without driving my friends and the public crazy.  I created my author profile also and keep blog ads linked to Amazon. My marketing budget is very limited and without using a professional service, I can only expect what I got.

The result was most disappointing and I've decided that when my enrollment in KDP Select is up on Jan 31st, I will quit the program. I have 3 more promotion days to offer my ebook, The Priestess and the Ravenknight, for free. You're invited to download it tomorrow, Jan. 12th through Tuesday, Jan. 14th.

Remember this is only my experience with KDP Select. I am sure there are other writers out there that have done very well with the program and got a lot of downloads which turned into sales after the promotion was over. If this has happened to you, I welcome any advice or suggestions on you did it that resulted in many downloads and sales. What kind of marketing did you use? How long did you use it? What days did you promote your book? What kind of keywords or categories did you use?

Once I am done with KDP Select, I will turn P&R into an Epub ebook and begin marketing it and selling it at various online sites independently. I may even put it into CD form and sell it at book signings. It's time to plan my next move as I continue to sell both Realmwalkers and P&R this new year. 

And now that I am doing better, it's time to get to back to work on my next book.

I look forward to your comments and reviews of The Priestess and the Ravenknight, free tomorrow through Tuesday at Amazon Kindle.

Keep on writing! Don't give up!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

Dear friends and colleagues,
Sorry for not posting here in a long while. I have been battling a nasty cough and cold for over a week now. I am doing better and hope to get back on my usual blogging routine and blog story. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I wish you a happy and prosperous new year. Are you ready to write new books and stories as we enter into 2014? I plan to get back into writing my third book plus return to drawing once my health improves. Sadly, this may still take a few more days of bed rest. But I can't wait! I'm ready to work on my next book.
This cold medication is making me woozy so before I drift off to la la land once again, I want to thank all my friends and readers who have been so supportive not just in 2013, but ever since I have started writing in earnest. I want you to know how much I appreciate your support and encouragement. I wouldn't have gotten these two books done without it. I am grateful to have such good friends and colleagues around both locally in Havasu and online. Thanks so much!
Happy New Year and keep on writing!