Self-publishing brings a lot of freedom to authors and those who choose the Indie path will also tell you that it brings an incredible amount of work. We have painstakingly written the book of our dreams and then, most likely, paid for an editor and cover designer and even a book formatter. Then we want the book published and, of course, to have an audience. To be able to achieve that we need to promote and market ourselves and our book as far and wide as possible. Luckily there is so much information out there from other authors to help the newbies of the Indie world, like me, so it is a very supportive community to be part of. However even with all that information it is easy to make mistakes. Even if you have more savvy that Captain Jack Sparrow, you will mess up and sometimes that's not a bad thing. We learn as we go and mistakes are a much needed kick in the rear at times.
Well, there have been a few mistakes that I have made and even blogged about, most of them come from the marketing side of things. For those that have read other posts on here, you may have seen my excitement at Brunswick being released from the Kindle Select program, it meant that my book was able to join other platforms and I was looking forward to it. And, with Kindle Select coming under such scrutiny lately I thought I would give my experience and opinion of it.
It's true that I was glad when Brunswick was free from the program, this was not because of Kindle Select being terrible, it was because I wanted to get my book on other platforms. When your book is enrolled in the program it is there for 90 days and it is subject to the fact that you cannot publish your book on other platforms. When in the program you get 5 free promotional days in which you can offer your book at no charge. It is also available for the kindle Prime members to borrow and Amazon give a percentage of that fund to you for every copy borrowed. If you enrol your book you also have to have the price set at $2.99 or more. So there are a few of the facts that I read before I published and enrolled my book. As for the experience I had personally, it wasn't great and I'm very 50/50 about it.
I found being in the program very limiting. Of course it may not be that way for everyone, if all formats are through Amazon and you have done a lot of marketing already then your book may have more success in the program than mine. I enrolled Brunswick as soon as I published it and I think that was a big mistake for me. As and unknown author with an unknown book, it wasn't as if people were looking out for it. The free marketing days that I took advantage of were great and I am sure that they helped my book no end, however, I think it would have done better if it were not a 'brand new' book with no reviews and people were a bit more aware of it. I guess it sounds like a vicious circle, you need to market to get popularity and the Kindle select program is supposed to help market your book. But if people aren't looking out for it and have never heard of it there is less chance of them downloading it.
Like I said I have read many different views on this program, some of which had a better experience than mine and some of which were worse. I remain 50/50 about it. I don't think that I will enrol again but I do wonder if it would have been different if I enrolled the book now instead of then? Now that Brunswick is a little more known, would it have found more success with the program. I would say to anyone looking at joining the program to be careful and to think about what you are expecting from it. If your book is already doing well then why limit it? If your book is doing so so then you may find that the program gives it a boost. Research it fully and ask yourself if limiting its availability is what's best.
Also many authors do not agree with their work being free, if we work hard at something then why should we give it away. In many ways I agree but I also think that people look to these promotions as an opportunity to discover new authors. If you are an indie published, debut author you may find this worth while. When the book is not on promotion though it is up in the $2.99 section and some would not want to buy a relatively unknown authors work at a higher price, ebooks especially. I don't think that this hurt my sales too much but I'm sure it had an effect none the less. I have since lowered the price for the ebooks to try and attract more readers and it seems to have worked quite well.
After putting Brunswick on to the Smashwords platform, it went straight in to the premium catalogue. That means that it is distributed to Apple and Kobo etc which is great for exposure.
I hope my experience and opinion has helped any of you that is looking in to the program. If you wish to comment on your own experience then please feel free, I'd love to hear from you.