John Berry Novels Blog
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My KDP Select Experiment

So Amazon announced a new program for indie authors called KDP Select (after their publishing platform Kindle Direct Publishing).  In return for exclusively making your book available on for 90 days, they give the author access to their private community called Kindle Select, pay royalties for those books that are "borrowed" through Select's book lending program, and they give the author the opportunity to do promotions by offering the book for free for 5 days out of the 90.

I had considered this when it was first announced late last year, because by going exclusive with Amazon I wouldn't be giving up much.  My Amazon sales in January were as much as all other ebook channels combined since I published A Night of Horrors last July.  But I couldn't quite get past making the book free for 5 days out of 90. 

This past week, I read a couple of blogs by other authors who signed up for KDP Select and had amazing success.  Now the free promotion is always a bit chancy, but apparently, by making your book available for free, it has the potential to fly up on Amazon's lists (best fiction, best historical fiction) on the free lists and create a buzz that carries over to the book when it goes back to a book you pay for.  And the authors see new success through the promotion.

Now, January was the best month of sales for A Night of Horrors since I published it.  I've regularly been in the top 5% of the Amazon list, but that's out of 750,000 books.  So if you are in the 30,000 range, you are in the top 5%.  From my analysis, you need to be in the top 3,000 to get to the top 100 list of Historical Fiction novels.  So while 5% is great, it will take a lot more work to get to the top 100!

So, I decided to take the plunge with KDP Select yesterday.  I went live at midnight last night, so I am 18 hours into my first 48 hour free book promotion.  So tell your friends!

Here's what's happened so far today.  I checked in this morning around 6:30 while I was having breakfast to make sure the free promotion was live.  There were 150 downloaded by about 7:00 AM.  Throughout the morning the downloads accelerated to about 150 or more per hour!  I also started getting a handful of downloads from the UK and a few from from Germany -- yes, it's gone international!  Then, mid morning, I started to break into the top 2,000 for the Kindle Free list, which has 1 million titles!  Just before noon, I realized that A Night of Horrors was number 36 on the free Historical Fiction List.  Just two hours later, the novel was in the top 500 overall and in the TOP 10 for free Historical Fiction!

As I write this, around 7PM, there have been more than 1,500 downloads of the novel.  It is #7 on the free historical fiction list and just shy of the top 150 overall.  My body has literally been humming with all of the activity today.  I'll see what tomorrow brings...but I'm especially anxious to see how well the promotion translates into real sales.

Tell your friends!  A Night of Horrors is a top 10 in Historical Fiction and FREE for just another day!

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