Thirty one days have flown right by despite my hourly habit of checking my Kindle sales stats. I’m learning obsessively checking your sales stats every hour is an increasingly common habit among the Kindle authors especially after the free KDP Select promotion. This article summarizes the January 2013 sales results, summarizes the successful marketing actions and provides additional steps for subsequent months.
Kindle Marketing Sales Figures
US and India Net Sales
2 Day Free Promotion Results
Averages Sales per day
Sales Price Point
Average Amazon Kindle Overall Rank
Highest Rank Rank
In total, 67 people paid for the eBook, 566 downloaded the book during my 2 day Kindle promotion and 13 people left excellent reviews with 5 star ratings.
Kindle Book Price Point
This month I lowered the book from 7.99 to 4.99 for a 3 week test. In January, I only ran the 7.99 price point for 4 days before I ran the Kindle Select free promotion. If I consider the full 11 days the book was priced at 7.99, the average sales per day was 2.5 books. For the remainder of the days using the 4.99, the book sold 2.6 sales per day. Doing some quick math indicates, I should test again at the $7.99 price point for a longer set of days as I would have fewer sales but much greater profit.
Ofcourse, I still think $9.99 is still way too low for the information provided, but that’s just me being subjective. Even listing the book at $7.99 and then $4.99 was a hard pill to swallow but I’m relying on volume to drive sales. However, in my project management niche, the target reader can easily afford a $9.99 price point for a technique that solves a problem. Price testing will continue each month so look forward to next month’s results.
I’m learning that these Kindle “books” are not really books but rather techniques that solve a specific problem. If the price point of these techniques is incredibly low, then a portfolio approach with quality techniques and higher volume will continue to drive profitability. Overall, the revenue isn’t much but considering it only took 3 weeks from start to finish and I now have a product generating small sales each day, I’ll grind out the digital dollars. Based on the monthly results, the book will generate approximately $3000 for the year. With a mind map of over 40 different Kindle book ideas, repeating this process could generate a comfortable amount of income.
…but I’m not quitting the day job yet.
Kindle Marketing Actions
In one of the Kindle Forums, there is a theme of just letting the Amazon Kindle platform market the book for you. I’ve learned there is a financial benefit to placing your product where there is a lot of interested buyers, however, I don’t think it is good business to rely only on one platform for marketing or product distribution. Under the KDP Select terms, I’m locked into 90 days only on the Amazon platform before I can choose other distribution channels. Even if I remain on the single distribution platform, I need to have a backup strategy in case Amazon ever decides to change the percentage, distribution or even discontinue the Kindle program.
Below are several key actions I took to help promote the book:
Promote the book across your own platform.
The first sale of the book was from a tweet that I sent out to my project management followers. It was also the first 5-star review that I received. I also updated my Tactical Project Management Facebook page, Google Plus account and my LinkedIn profile. Heck, I even pinned my book cover on my Pinterest account with a link to the book. Since I have an existing project management blog that receives a modest amount of visitors each month (9000 unique views), I also updated the blog with a link to the book. By leveraging my blog and my list of email subscribers, I was able to market to the subscribers and let them know about the book.
It was encouraging getting feedback from my professional colleagues and other project managers in the field. The feedback and sales further validated the book was providing the right message to the target audience. I also understand why traditional book publishers want you to have an established platform to help promote and sell your own book.
Helpful – Not Spammy – Forum Discussions
In the project management domain, there are several high traffic discussion forums where people ask questions and I help provide quality answers. Quora and LinkedIn are just two forums where I would answer questions and even ask questions related to the my book topic. In my responses, I provided a quality answer that demonstrated expertise and included a link to my book in the signature line.
I did this a few times and didn’t always include the link in my response as I didn’t want to look overly spammy. The response was well received from the virtual community and I received several email and discussion responses indicating they purchased the book.
I’m hesitant to refer to publishing articles on other blogs as guest posting. Guest posting has a hidden assumption that your quality writing should be given away for free all in exchange for a backlink. As a freelance writer, I publish with popular blogs that have paid editors who seek quality content related to the target market. TechRepublic.com is a popular page rank 9 website that is owned by CBS Interactive Media.
Here is one way I include a backlink in the Managing Accountability in Outsourced Projects article.
As part of the marketing strategy, YouTube continues to be an excellent source for traffic. The video I created last month continues to grow in views with over 800+ views to date. I include a link to my book in the video description as well as a call to action to check out the book to learn more. Currently, the video ranks on the 2nd page and continues to climb in the search engines and ranks #3 in the YouTube video search results.
Publishing Content on Popular Platforms
I also took the same presentation and published a Project Management Interview Questions on Scribd. Since the book references a mind map, I also created a mind map template and posted it on MapsForThat.com and BiggerPlate.com. The key idea here is to take relevant content that can be easily repurposed and get it published for viewing on other platforms.
What’s the value in all this additional content marketing?
For a $2.99 to $9.99 ebook, you might wonder what the real value is from all this additional content development and content marketing. Amazon very well may be its own search and marketing engine for your book, however, applying a little search engine optimization with content marketing helps for additional traffic from the search engines. As of this writing, the book ranks #8 in the search engine results and ranks #1 for the keyword in the Amazon search engine results.
In reviewing my daily sales statistics, I’ve noticed every time a guest post article ran on Techrepublic or my other platforms, the sales increased for the day. The key is to go where your target market goes and provide relevant content that addresses their question or concern. There are other theories that you can “set and forget it” on the Kindle platform by simply doing the KDP promotion. I like to stack the deck in my favor so I’m a fan of promoting my brand of books with content marketing while leveraging the Amazon engine.
KDP Select Promotion Results
The PM Interview Questions Made Easy title was my first KDP Select eBook. I was looking forward to the results of the 2 day promotion and the subsequent sales on the paid list. On Day 1 of my free promotion, I pushed the marketing heavily through my various social media channels, forums and related network. The book ranked #2 in the Decision Making category for Free Kindle books and was #3 in the Job Hunting category. The book was downloaded 367 times and ranked 884 in the Free Kindle list. The second day I deliberately decided to do no promotion and just let Amazon promote the free book. The book went to #1 in its category and was downloaded another 188 times with a best Kindle Rank of 728.
I’ve read other Kindle Marketing Books that talk about 5000 free downloads in a day and if your book doesn’t reach a thousand downloads, your book won’t fair well. Keep in mind, my book is targeted to project managers seeking a job which in itself is a small niche but it remains a buying one. I was happy with the results and was looking forward to the first paid day.
After the 2 day promotion, the book rank fell to 214,657 with only ONE sale.
Yep…just 1 sale at the $7.99 price point. I picked up another sale the following day and decided to drop the price point to $4.99 as a test. I kept it at the $4.99 price point for the remainder of the month.
Where was the huge sales volume?
There wasn’t any. Throughout the month, the best KDP rank I achieved on the paid list was 24,471 which isn’t bad and still sells 1 to 10 titles per day. Ideally, if the book breaks the 8500 rank, the book is selling between 10 and 30 copies per day. Based on email discussions with Amazon, there is no direct relationship between the paid list vs. the free list. The paid list and free list is calculated based on the number of sales. One does not influence the other.
So what is the KDP Select benefit?
I’ve noticed two main benefits with KDP Select – in-category search results ranking and reviews using social proof.
When I enrolled my book in KDP Select, I noticed when I searched for the keywords my book ranked first among the other books with similar titles. There are other interview questions books written for project managers and prior to KPD select, it didn’t rank as high in comparison. I’m also doing an exact keyword match so those factors also likely apply.
However, the real benefit with KDP Select is getting Amazon verified reviews. You can embed social proof and testimonials in your product description but nothing sells a book better than getting 4 and 5 star reviews from Amazon verified purchases. Below are just some of the reviews.
I’m sure less ethical marketers could go on Fiverr.com and pay for positive reviews; however, getting this type of feedback from actual project managers further validates the book and also helps sell the book. If the book has enough social proof from Amazon Verified Purchases and it actually solves a problem found in your market, you’ll have a healthy batch of monthly sales.
Kindle Marketing Strategy and Actions for Next Month
In February, I’m taking the following actions:
- Test the 2.99 price point
- Apply Conversion and Analytics Tracking
- Edit the book to cross promote my other Kindle titles
- Publish a hard copy version on CreateSpace.com
- Issue a press release
Every Kindle marketing book you read talks about the magic $2.99 price point. I cringe at pricing the book so low for the information, but I’m willing to test it for a month. Applying conversion tracking will also help determine my most effective marketing source. Adding links to my other Kindle books with sample chapters will also help cross promote. With CreateSpace, I can get a hardcopy version of the book printed on demand which should also help with overall sales. Once the CreateSpace version is live, I’ll have enough relevant news for a meaningful press release.
What do you think?
If you’re a fellow Kindle writer, I’d like to hear about your experiences. Do the above results appear similar to yours? Please comment below.