We now have fifty, pushing seventy, titles on both CreateSpace and Kindle Select. We have been running "Free Kindle Saturdays" promotions every Saturday for as long as the free promotions have been available, and we also tie in those promotions with our month-long Goodreads giveaways. Our loyal followers know that, on any given Saturday, they can go to the Catalog tab on our website (futurecycle dot org) and link to all of our Kindle titles, sorted from low to high, and the free titles for that day will float to the top. Having built this approach and gotten people used to it, we don't want to give it up for the Countdown promotions.
We think the new Countdown promotion idea is a really good one, one we'd like to avail ourselves of, but we would like to be able to combine promotions in the following way. (Or, BETTER, convince you to change it all to one countdown promotional type that allows for the first day to be set at 0.00. Wouldn't this be less of a programming nightmare? It would certainly be easier on the publishers trying to run promotions.) Here's how we'd fold the new countdowns into our "Free Kindle Saturdays":
Saturday = 0.00
Sunday = 0.99
Monday = 1.99 (2.99 title promotions end, i.e, our chapbooks)
Tuesday = 2.99 (3.99 title promotions end, i.e., the bulk of our full-length books)
Wednesday = 3.99 (4.99 title promotions, if any, end)
Thursday = 4.99 (5.99 title promotions, if any, end)
Friday = 5.99 (6.99 title promotions, if any, end)
Our Kindle editions are mostly priced at 2.99 and 3.99, so doing the above would have our chapbooks running from free to max 1.99 discount over three days; our full-lengths running from free to max 2.99 discount over four days. The other days could be used for books that are priced higher (a few of ours are) or for other special promotions we might like to do.
A MAJOR BEEF: With so many titles to manage, I get frustrated with the 90-day restriction on use of promotions COMBINED with the fact that our books are all running on different 90-day schedules. I tend not to use these tools as much as I should because it's too blindingly complex to schedule everything and get the announcements made via HootSuite. FutureCycle Press is very Amazon-centric, choosing to be permanently committed to Kindle Select and CreateSpace. Please reward our loyalty by streamlining the tools we need to use.
What I would like to see is a feature that allows a publisher to be given the ability to run promotions without the "every 90 day" restriction. What good does that restriction do anyone? Does it help Amazon make more money? I doubt it. All it does for us is discourage our use of the tools. Publishers running promotions can decide if it's cost-effective for them to run them more frequently. At the least, please change it to a 30-day restriction. That way, we can plan month to month what we'll be doing. It also would not be a bad idea to have the automatic renewals in KDP Select all begin on the first day of the month.
We like what you're doing, but please help make it easier for us!
If Amazon thought they'd make more money and get more people to go exclusive with them by eliminating the 90-day restriction, I'll bet they would do it. Why not?
And as far as selling vs. giving away books is concerned, not everyone is in the business of publishing books to make money. FutureCycle Press operates on a nonprofit, break-even basis. We want to make enough to publish our next few books and cover our overhead, but as a poetry publisher with a volunteer editorial and production staff, our philosophy is geared more toward keeping contemporary work alive than it is trying to profit from it. We periodically offer books free because we are trying to build up interest in our authors' offerings. We want students, especially, to be able to get them and own them. We want to pursue creative promotional strategies to get the word out about our books, which we mightily labor over and are proud of.
We are not only talking to authors here in this forum; we are talking to other publishers who use the Kindle publishing platform...and I'd be willing to bet there are some CreateSpace staff lurking as well. As more of us think about these issues, more of us will ask for the 90-day promotion restriction to be removed. Some will ask for the free promotions and the countdown promotions to be folded together to cut down on confusion and make the whole operation run more smoothly and efficiently.
I deliberately posted the original message under the Feedback topic because I expect the feedback they are referring to is feedback for KDP! Who else would they be talking about?
I do not 'advertise". I just upload and use the tools offered by Amazon, but I find that the 'featured authors' sometimes leave me wondering if my posted offering will ever be seen. I am currently trying the 'countdown' feature with one of my novels, but it isn't getting me any exposure that can be gauged. It seems to me that searching for a book type leaves little to the imagination and even less to the sort or order. Why isn't countdown sorted by review ratings and number of reviews regardless of the author? Just wondering what it would take to get those that are really well accepted and not from a major house on the list where they could be considered? Maybe I'm just not tech savvy enough to understand the process of getting to the lead or at least to a place on the list where the listing is viewed before the page down button on a shopper's computer has a breakdown?
Sara, the free Kindle Saturdays are just a way we've come up with to promote our books using the five free promotion days per quarter that KDP gives us. We know there won't be more than five Saturdays in a month, so we've got every Saturday covered if we decide to give away a few titles in one month, then a few other titles the next month, etc. It just helps us keep it straight in our heads.
The new countdown promotional feature appears to be fairly well thought out, except for the fact that we wish it could be kicked off at 0.00 instead of .99. You have to select either countdown OR free promotion within one quarter; you can't mix the two. I think they should merge them into one.
Today I clicked on a link in an email I received from Amazon that took me to a page showing all Countdown Deals, but you can get there by searching for "countdown deals" in the Kindle Store. Once you get the Countdown Deals, you'll see Categories listed in the left-hand column. I was able to select the genre I was interested in (Literature and Fiction), then the sub-genre (Poetry), then sub-sub-genres under that. We don't have any books up on countdown deals right now because we've already got them all tied up in free promotions, but if we did have, we'd see those titles in the list. The free promotions do not seem to work this way. I was not able to easily find free book promotions by category, so the countdown promotion might be more advantageous to those who are trying to reach an audience for a very specific genre than a free promotion would.
As it stands now, though, based on how we do/have been doing things, I think we're going to have to stick with the free promotions.
Notjohn, you are so right and yet day after day, month after month, freebies are clogging up the system and completly undermining it for anyone who is trying to sell their work. I find truely amazing that anyone is so dumb to give away something they have spent hours of blood, sweat and tears on. Oh well, no telling some people. Its rather like talking to a brick wall.
I also believe you shouldn't give anything away for free. I've heard people bragging that they'd given thousands of copies of one book away for free and sold a hundred copies of another one. If one per cent had bought the book, that would have generated a decent return. As a reader, I never download free books. If my favourite or very popular author were to give away free copies I might download it. But frolm a newbie - never.
Giving books away free is a time-honored sales strategy. What do you think the traditional publishers are doing when they send out tons of review copies? That's precisely why we do it, but we cannot afford to do it with paperbacks. The ability to put our Kindle editions up for a time either free or at a reduced cost is one of the most powerful promotional tools we have, and we are grateful to KDP for giving it to us. Without it, we would not have a prayer that the work we publish would ever be discovered.
The internet has changed the way curation and reviewing are done, and we are quite happy in our typically unprofitable little niche (poetry) to give away Kindle editions on occasion in hopes that our authors' work will become better known and possibly discussed or reviewed online. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Not everybody publishes books to make money. We feel a strong obligation to society and culture to keep works of literary merit alive even if they are not valued by the masses.
I can understand the frustration of those authors who are trying to make money from their own books that they have to compete with titles that can be had (for a time!) free or marked down substantially. But, really, in our genre the problem is moot. Those people who like good poetry know that the only way to see more of it published is to buy the work of poets they like from time to time. But how are they to know that the work of an unknown poet is not pure doggerel without actually being exposed to it beforehand? Only so many people can attend a poetry reading in person, and the Look Inside feature can only give a small taste. We've had people "purchase" a volume of poetry for 0.00 on promotion and email us to let us know they loved it and plan to give it to a few of their poetry-loving friends or workshop members. Do they follow through? To me, if they liked it enough to email us telling us so, we've already accomplished what we set out to do.
Many of the poets we have published have been writing and publishing poetry their whole lives in some of the best literary magazines around, and yet they still are not well known. Some have ten or more full-length books out, all critically well received, yet you've never heard of them. That's the way it is with poetry. Maybe it's different with the novelists and short story writers. I can tell you this: We are not in competition with any of you...so stop blaming us that you aren't making as much money as you think you ought to be making. Blame Random House and George RR Martin, whose 5-book set is now selling for .002 cents a word, which might as well be free!
Poetry is for dinosaurs, which, by the way, are also extinct.
The fact that flogging petty prose for free as the only way to make the cruddy stuff move, should tell you right there and then that you are flogging a dead horse.
If you had any respect for the dead you would just let those dusty old books of poetry stay buried. The only people reading poetry anyways are poets.
So now you're complaining because you want to give your stupid poems away 24/7 as opposed to every 90 days.
Pretty soon you'll be paying people read the darn slop.
Mind you, some of the slambamthankyoumaam erotic stuff ain't too bad, but finding it is like holding your nose as you wade through a sewer.
Poetry publishers should just give us all a break and cover themselves with dirt. At least the dinosaurs knew when it was time to say enough is enough!!!
And before any of you self righteous types start getting into an uproar over my comments, just answer me this, when was the last time any of you heros actually bought a book of poetry. What's that? You were all too busy downloading free books of poems to notice any for sale? I thought as much.
If your goal is just to make poetry available to students for free, I recommend getting out of Select and putting the books up on iTunes. It allows perma-free, and a lot of students have iPads and iPods.