Category Archives: General

Still Here

I am still writing the fourth book, which is why this blog hasn’t had any posts for a while. When I am working on a book I am almost completely focused on it and tend to forget about other things like this blog.

A while back I posted a rant about Amazon opening up their ad system to everyone, including the big publishers. The situation hasn’t changed and it seems to be convincing many self published authors who worked exclusively with them to give up writing since their ads don’t get shown and their sales have disappeared. It’s a shame Amazon has abandoned all the authors who built the Kindle to what it is today in preference of large companies who will never be as dedicated to Amazon as the self publishers were. I wonder if the Kindle will survive when there are no longer millions of authors offering up their books for all Kindle owners to read for free.

I have been running a single category ads on Amazon to see if there is any difference in what it costs to run ads for any particular type of book. What I have found is that the average bid to get an ad impression that amazon shows when creating an ad is NOT what is needed to actually get the ad to show. It appears to be the average of what everyone has bid, not the average of the winning bids. In every category Amazon shows an average bid of between 15 and 25 cents. The reality is that to get a winning bid I have to make it anywhere from 30 to 50 cents.

A little math shows that this will prevent any author from making money using Amazons ad system. For example: on a good month I can make one sale for every one hundred clicks. If each click is costing me 30 cents, then to get that sale I have to spent 30 dollars on clicks. I would need to charge around 35 dollars for my books to make any money. The most expensive science fiction book I could find was 24 dollars and that was for a hard cover printed book by a well known author.

Amazon Has Screwed Up

I take back everything I said a few months ago about how great the KDP select program is. Amazon has apparently opened up their ad system to everyone, not just KDP select members. So the result has been a flood of people running ads for their books which has resulted in ads only being shown a few hundred times per month. Before this happened my ads were being shown 150,000 times per month minimum.

Considering that roughly ten percent of the displayed ads are clicked and then less than one tenth of a percent of those clicks results in a sale, the ads never were that great for selling books. The value came in people seeing an ad and then going to the Kindle lending library and reading a book there. when someone does that the author gets paid for every page they read.

I’ve noticed a lot of authors on Amazon complaining that all their sales and page reads have stopped over the last few months. Amazon may have screwed up bad with this because from what I can tell most authors who stayed exclusively with them did so because they could make good money. Many of them are now dropping out of the KDP select program and using other eBook distributors, which will only result in Amazon loosing royalties from book sales.


Amazon KDP Select

My books have just finished their first enrollment in the Amazon KDP select program, so it is time for my review of the program.
Quick summary first: Amazon gives new authors many tools to help promote their books and make money from them.
Now for the long winded details. I would say it is definitely worth using for a new unknown author for a few reasons:
1. All books in the program automatically get put into the Kindle lending library, which means people can read your book for free while Amazon pays you a fraction of a cent per page the first time they read it. Currently the amount they pay is around .0042 cents per page, which seems horrible until you consider that if someone reads my entire book in the library I actually make more money than I would if they bought it!
2. In each enrollment period you can set up one limited time offer for each of your books: Either a sale countdown or a free book giveaway. The giveaway is great for making an audience if you plan on writing more books (which I do).
3. You can place your books in an ad campaign which will show your book to readers as an ad in their search results or on the book details page of other books they view. When they show up is based on various criteria you select. For example: I target people who are interested in science fiction and a few sub categories of science fiction. To get your ad to appear you place a bid and set a limit of how much to spend during the time the ad will run. This really helps people find the books written by an unknown like me. It take a lot of tweaking, but after a month or two, the ads really start bringing in readers.

Third Book Size

Either my third book in the Infinite Divergence series is going to be very long or I have included a lot more detail in the outline this time. I just compared the outline for the third book with the outline for the second book and it is twice as long.