If you’re an indie author who uses Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to publish your ebooks and print books, you’ve probably noticed that your sales have tanked over the last 2 to 3 weeks. What’s going on?
Amazon Is Undergoing a Lot of Changes Right Now
First and foremost, Amazon is making a lot of changes to its KDP platform. Specifically, it’s eliminating CreatSpace and forcing authors to use KDP for their print books. This has obviously affected hundreds if not thousands of authors because they now have to move their books from CreateSpace to KDP, but how is that affecting ebook sales and print book and KU/KOLL? It’s still a mystery. Amazon is refusing to acknowledge the problem.
When Did the KDP Glitches and Underreporting Start?
Amazon’s KDP glitches and underreporting started around September 24. At that time, you may have noticed that your KU/KOLL page flips tanked, your ebook sales slowed and your print books were failing to print. You may have even heard from readers who bought your book and said that they love it, but you do not see the corresponding sales reporting.
As of September 30, you may not have seen any KDP page flips and only sporadic downloads and print books sales to spite increasing your advertising presence. For me personally, I redoubled my efforts to post book promotions in Facebook groups, I took out Facebook ads, and I hired a brand management team the week of September 30 because I saw a significant and sudden drop in sales. Their efforts and mine have failed to result in reported sales.
At this same time, if you were on your Author Dashboard reports page, you may have noticed some very brief error messages about sales reporting. This has been happening sporadically since October 3rd. However, these are so brief, usually up an hour or less, that many author’s haven’t seen them.
What Author’s Are Saying
There are several posts in the KDP community asking about sales reporting and asking if anyone else has experienced a sudden, unprecedented drop in KDP sales. The short answer is yes. These Amazon KDP glitches are affecting hundreds if not thousands of indie authors, and along with not reporting sales, your monthly royalties are being affected. That’s right. If KDP doesn’t log your sales, you don’t get paid for those ebook downloads and print book orders.
The Threads You Should Be Watching
KDP-Community-Reports “Anyone Else Missing Sales on Their reports and in Royalties”, Is There a Lag in Sales Reports Updating”, and “Sales Report Freeze Ending?”
Amazon Is Still Suspiciously Silent
To spite the notice by several hundred authors and the many KDP community threads, Amazon is still suspiciously silent over this latest KDP glitch, but they were silent at the end of July and beginning of August until Indie Authors started mass assembling and causing an uproar on social media. It is not okay for Amazon to remain silent and fail to acknowledge the problem. It is not okay that Amazon’s glitches are currently ripping authors off.
What Can You Do?
Contact Amazon and ask why KDP sales are being underreported and royalties are not being paid. Share this post far and wide so that other authors know that it’s not them. It’s Amazon!
What Other Authors Have Said They Are Doing
Some authors are pulling out of KU in order to get their ebooks on more platforms. The KDP Select program requires authors to exclusively sell their ebboks on Amazon, which is great when KDP is functioning normally. When page reads and ebbok sales are not being reported due to glitches, it makes it impossible to sell ebooks, and in order to remain complaint with KPD Select, you can't branch out your eBooks in order to make up for the underreporting.
Going indie with their books is something a lot of authors are doing today. While it’s awesome that you get to keep all of the profits with an indie book, much of getting an indie book out there is the marketing. That’s true of any book. But with an indie book, you have to do a lot of it yourself or outsource some or all of the work. Outsourcing can get expensive, so let’s focus on the things you can do yourself to successfully market your indie book.
Just like with anything you market, a great teaser is what gets people to pay attention to your book and hopefully consider buying it. You don’t need to stick to one teaser, either. Different teasers of various lengths can be used in different ways to successfully market a book. These can be used when sharing on social media, for the description in various marketplaces, to guest post on blogs, and more.
Of course, the prettier or more memorable your book’s cover is, the better it will do as far as sales. That’s because it will catch more eyes. In order to successfully market your indie book, it needs to stand out from the crowd in a good way. It’s also not unusual for the same book to have several different covers, either, so if you can’t decide on just one, it’s perfectly fine to start off with multiple covers. Then, see which one performs the best as far as sales.
Obviously, Facebook and Twitter are a good way to get the word out about books. Google Plus and Linkedin are good for promoting books in certain genres, too, although some more than others. Be sure to know the right hashtags that your target audience frequents and be sure to vary the types of posts that you have. Be sure to share other authors’ posts to show you’re part of the team. It’s also good to find Facebook groups and niche forums that cater to those who would want to read your book.
Word of Mouth
Give the books to friends and family. It’s the old fashioned way to market anything, and it still works! Who knows. They may go on social media and say something, too! Others to give books to include book bloggers and reviewers. These are people willing to give their honest feedback in exchange for a copy of the book. Be sure to target the ones who will be honest, rather than give a glowing review just because they received the book. Honest reviews are best for marketing, as readers are more likely to trust authenticity.
The last thing to think about is Amazon ads. While these can be pricey, they may be beneficial for the first two weeks of your book advertising campaign, especially if you choose great keywords. The most popular keywords are the ones that correspond with book categories, including thriller, romance, erotica, historical and sci-fi. Amazon ads allow you to set a daily budget as well as a max budget for each keyword click, which helps make the ads more affordable. You can also pause an ad at any time if it becomes too expensive.
Marketing an indie book can be challenging. But if you put your best foot forward and be sure to cover the most important areas, you’re more likely to be successful. Some of this advice may seem simple, but it is often the simple things people overlook when trying to successfully market an indie book.