Category Archives: Book Marketing

No. 3 Hot New Release under “Browsers” on Amazon How to Get Unlimited Free Traffic Everyday (2.0)

How to Get Unlimited Free Traffic Everyday (2.0)

How to Get Unlimited Free Traffic Everyday (2.0)As God is my witness, I will never pay a penny for traffic again!

What’s your website’s daily pageview count like? Not completely satisfied, or not satisfied at all?

You’re not alone. Millions of quality websites out there are like spinsters sitting in the corners of singles’ party, pining for some attention. On the web, attention can only come in one form – traffic. That’s why a site is rated by search engines by its daily pageview count, among many other things.

No. 3 Hot New Releases: How to Get Unlimited Free Traffic Everyday (2.0)

No. 3 Hot New Releases: How to Get Unlimited Free Traffic Everyday (2.0)

This book teaches you how to roll up your sleeves and generate unlimited FREE traffic, with the help of a great bot you can download free, while many others are still dishing out their hard-earned money to pay for traffic.

You will be excited about the prospect of an improved search engine ranking after you read my book. But what’s revealed in this little book is just the tip of the iceberg. In the battlefield of web marking with web bots, what you learn in this book is a beginner’s game. If you are serious about web marketing and you mean it when you say you want to sell your books or other products on the web, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of my other book,

Whispers, Automated Marketing with Webbots

The World According to Amazon

Ka-Ching! The 80% Royalty Formula for KDP

Amazon KDP appears to be a well-designed assembly line that mass-produces Kindle e-books and takes the lion’s share of the e-book market.  It’s structurally optimized to deliver solutions to all problems that may arise from all aspects and stages of book publishing and marketing, with KDP as the chute to market for e-books, CreateSpace as that for printed books and Author Central as the shared portal between the two. You have a question? Amazon has an answer!

Behind this impressive façade, Amazon is no more than a Darwinian monster who is frantically and constantly realigning itself to better process the books in its pipeline. Without a doubt, Amazon is a superb survivor who is always able to innovate in order to stay ahead of or catch up with its competitors.

Need an example? Just reflect for a minutes on the major steps Amazon took in the last couple of months in 2013: It introduced Kindle Book Countdown as an alternative to the conventional Free Book promotion; it introduced Kindle Matchbook program; it started offering matte finish of covers for printed books and last but not least, it stopped charging $25 for Extended Distribution for printed books.

It’s fair to say that Amazon knows what it is doing. Nevertheless, do not assume that Amazon holds the crystal ball for the future. Your guess about the future of e-books is just as good as Amazon’s. All Amazon has in its power to maintain its lion’s share in the e-book market is the will to survive and the agility to adapt.

And adapt it does, sometimes ever so frantically. If you use KDP Bookshelf as often as I do, I am sure you have noticed the unannounced service down notice and the rather frequent changes of the user interface. And if you are as “lucky” as I have been, you would have observed absurd incidents. For example, in the month of October, 2013, I often got to see a French writer’s royalty report, when I refresh my KDP royalty summary page. To prove that I am not just making this up, I have pasted in the screenshot as follows:

french_writer_royalty

I remember saying to myself when I saw this page in my own KDP Royalty report: Damn, these books are doing great for eight days into the month; I wish they were really mine!

Prior to that, I’ve also once seen the author Jamie Adams’ royalty summary, as shown in the following screenshot:

jamie_adams_royalty

Judging from the sales number, she’s also doing great and making me wish that this royalty summary was really mine.

These two freak incidents both happened when I was doing something completely normal – just clicking around after I had logged into my KDP account. Weird. Totally bizarre.

But there is a perfect explanation for them: the coders at Amazon were having a bad day in the office. They were trying to pull off a quick fix instead of methodically revamping a cog in the KDP machinery. It also appears that they were in a hurry, or else such bizarre incidents should never have happened in the real KDP production environment. They should have tested the fix thoroughly in their QA environment.

Whatever. Amazon is not as strong as it would let on. It has its own Achilles’ heel. And when it strives to fix its weaknesses, it exposes vulnerabilities.

For as long as I have been publishing on KDP and CreateSpace, I have kept a close eye on Amazon’s weaknesses. I see my KDP publishing career as my personal David vs. Goliath.

If I want to survive in the Jungle of Amazon, I need to gain the upper hand sometime in my battle against Amazon. There is no way I can gain any upper hand if I do not have any clues on Amazon’s weaknesses.

This book is a result of my observations on Amazon’s weaknesses. I am sure as time goes on, I will discover more and share with you. But as of now, I think I have enough to pack into a little book and make the readers happy.

But before I go into the details of what I want to share with you in the subsequent chapters in this book, I would like to summarize the principles I employ in devising strategies that target Amazon’s weaknesses I have identified.

Ask, and You Shall Not Receive

I am sure that you have seen those arbitrary prices big publishing houses put on the Kindle editions of their book. Like you, I can’t help wondering about the wisdom of their pricing. I have seen many prices above $1.00 but somehow mysteriously below $2.99. I have also seen prices between $10 and $18.

They do not make sense to me. By Amazon’s rule, Kindle books priced in between $2.99 and $9.99 are entitled to the 70% royalty rate. Any Kindle book priced below $2.99 are subject to the 35% royalty plan. Why would the big guys price their Kindle books below the $2.99 threshold?

By the same token, any Kindle books priced above $9.99 are also subject to the 35% royalty plan. In order to get the same royalty a $9.99 book gets on the 70% plan, a book with a price higher than $9.99 would have to go up to $19.98. Again, why would the big guys bother to price a book at $15 when they can get more royalty out of it at a price of $9.99?

The answer is simple: The big guys do not play by the rule Amazon sets for the small guys. The big publishing houses work with Amazon on negotiated royalty plan. I do not know what royalty rate they are getting, but I am sure it makes perfect sense for them to price their books with total disregard for Amazon’s $2.99 and $9.99 thresholds.

I do not know about you, but I, for one, would like to get the 70% royalty rate when my books are priced below the $2.99 threshold. I do not really care much about the other end: Pricing a Kindle book above $9.99 seems to be rather extreme.

But, would I get the 70% royalty rate for a book of mine that is priced at $1.49 if I ask Amazon for it? Of course not. Who do I think I am? The most I will get out of my inquiry is the predictable form email from KDP support with links to KDP’s pricing rules.

I am using the above example to illustrate a point: You can ask Amazon for a favor, but you will not get it. Amazon will always act in its own best interest and not grant favors to authors. Think of Kindle e-books’ one-week return policy. It is very generous to the buyers but has irked so many authors, of whom so many have written to Amazon or vented on forums to complain about it. What has Amazon done to ameliorate the pain for authors? Nothing.

Remember, when dealing with Amazon, it is “Ask, and you shall not receive.”

Push the Right Button, and You Shall Receive

On the contrary, if you push the right button, Amazon hands you what you want on a gold plate.

Why? You may be asking. Well, think of Amazon as a giant robot playing a game of chess against you. It is wired together with a plethora of complex algorithms. Unlike the human brain which can act on hubris, intuition and other illogical instincts, these algorithms are 100% logical and reactive – hence predictable.

This robot will outsmart you if you keep making logical – hence predictable – moves to advance your own interest. It analyze, evaluate and predict your follow-up moves in nanoseconds and make a move to block your planned route. Along any series of logical moves, if you see three steps, the robot probably sees eighteen hundreds. Forget about it. You will never beat Amazon if you play like a robot.

You can only beat the robot if you make disjointed moves. For example, you make move “A” and then move “B,” each of which indicating to the robot that you have a hidden goal to achieve. The robot instantly ascertains that the two goals are disjointed and they cannot be achieved at once; it also establishes after a tremendous amount of calculation that when A and B are made together, the overriding likelihood is that the perpetrator is trying to achieve the goal associated with A.

Therefore, the robot makes a move to block you from getting any closer to the goal of A. For the sake of easy reference later, let us call this move of the robot R1.

Game is over, if you are indeed trying to achieve A. You cannot change plan to achieve B either, as the robot has the upper hand now in the game and can easily block you from getting closer to B with its next move, R2.

But, what if all you really wanted is R1? You make A and B so that the robot reads your mind the way a robot predictably would and it is bound to make move like R1. And R1 is what you have really been craving for, not the goals affiliated with A or B.

Wouldn’t you consider the mission accomplished when you see R1 on the table? I would. And that is what I refer to as pushing the right button.

With Amazon, when you push the right button, you shall receive. If all this strikes you as too abstract, do not worry. You will get all the details and specifics when we get into the game moves of pushing the right button so Amazon hands us the 80% royalty plan, among other goodies covered in this book.

Don’t Get Mad, Get 80% Royalty

If you hang out in virtual places like GoodReads’ Author Feedback Group, you will notice a lot of complaints about Amazon. It is an understandable sentiment: Everyone loves to hate the Yankees. Being at the mercy of a giant will do that to you. Many Indies find many reasons to feel bitter about Amazon and wish for Amazon’s instant demise just for spite. This is evidenced in the waves of rumors we hear about flight of quality among Indies from KDP to other platforms.

I have read and heard about so many shocking statistics that indicate that pretty much everyone currently enrolled in KDP Select is thinking about leaving it, if not already did. Theoretically, that should have made it easier for the few foolish ones like me who have chosen to stay behind.

Not so. Amazon is as ever a competitive battlefield for anyone to survive. In fact, it may be tougher than it has ever been.

My humble advice is: Don’t get mad, get the 80% royalty rate. That ought to increase your odds of success on Amazon.

Get the 80% royalty rate how? The secret is all in Ka-Ching! The 80% Royalty Formula for KDP: Buyer Beware: You Will Never Settle for 70% Again!

With Bookbub, Should I Do the Free or the 99¢?

So when you finally have a book likely to be accepted by Bookbub, should you choose to do the free give-away or the for-sale promotion (like the 99¢ discounted pricing)?

I get that question all the time. People over-think about strategy. Marketing is just like anything we do in life. There has to be an element of unknown. When a move carries a downside risk, it also intrinsically carries an upside risk.

With Bookbub, my vote is with the free choice. The Amazon algorithm is by “affiliation.” The more people download it when they do other things on Amazon, the greater the possibilities that more people may re-trace the same route to your book.

The “reading” part is irrelevant for mass marketing. Worry about that when you are doing target-marketing on GoodReads etc. People who download and never read will NEVER buy your book anyway. But when they download, they push up your book stats. God bless them. I wish there are a hundred thousand people download mine when it’s on promotion and never read. The stats influence the real target audience of your book.

I have two books on Kindle book marketing that you may find interesting:

Whispers, Contagion & Espionage: Web Marketing with Bots (Brand new, just out this morning.)

KDP’s Best-Kept Secret Revealed: How to Embed Videos and Widgets in Your Book Description (13 readers have given it 5-star so far.)

Both books contain a lot of secrets people who ask this typical Bookbub question may not know.


Good Reasons to Join KDP Select

Have you read your KDP royalty spreadsheet carefully? If you have, you may have noticed a transaction type called “KOLL,” — “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

The wonderful thing about KOLL is the distorted reward to effort ratio. Say your ebook is priced at $0.99. You get a lousy $0.33 when you sell a copy. But when an Amazon Prime Member borrows a copy from you, Amazon rewards you through the KDP Select program a whopping $2.42! (Based on Sept. rate.) $2.42 translates into a sale of more than 7 copies of your $0.99.

And statistically, for most authors, your KOLL counts beat the combined sales of your book through B&N, Smashwords and all other minor channels.

So why not? Particularly when your book is priced at $0.99 or below $3.45 (that’s when a sale can break even with a borrow based on a 70% royalty rate.)

Personally, I wish there are more KOLL’s on my lower priced books than sales. If you ever come across with a book page on Amazon that screams “This book is free for Prime Members,” you now know why the author is doing that. KOLL is pronounced “Ka Ching!”

Starting this week, KDP also starts the “Countdown” promotion program which allows an author to lower a book’s price to a specified period of time for up to six days. This is offered as an alternative to the regular, know-to-everyone free promotion.

Say you have a book priced at $2.99 and you want to promote it by discounting it to a price of $0.99, Amazon will sell that book at $0.99 but still keep the 70% royalty rate you have elected for the price of $2.99. As we all know, if you price a book outright at $0.99, you are only eligible for a 30% royalty.

It looks like Amazon is putting money where its mouth it.

Now You See Me: Marketing Your Paperbacks on Amazon

No, I’m not talking about the Woody Harrison hit movie “Now You See Me,” I am talking about linking the paperback
edition of your book with the Kindle edition of your book through Amazon’s Author Central.

I always thought that it was a neat feature. There, the paperback and Kindle versions of your book are listed together in the “Format” box. If a buyer is interested in buying the paperback, he or she can easily click to switch. Right? Wrong!

One day in mid-October I received an email from a buyer who says she wishes there is a print version on one of my title. I was like, “Well, my friend, the paperback version is listed right there. Are you blind?”

Of course, I was just mumbling to myself, not really to the buyer. To her, I apologized profusely and gave her the link to the paperback. This, of course, could not have happened had I not embedded an optin or “Contact Me” form in my book description. (Embedding an optin form in your book description is one humble but tangible benefit of the techniques introduced in KDP’s Best-Kept Secret Revealed: How to Embed Videos and Widgets in Your Book Description.)

Ever since then I started putting in explicit callout to paperbacks in my Kindle book description. For example, you can see an example in My Life as a Cicada and KDP’s Best Secret.

The result has been remarkable. I’ve done a pretty lousy job with the marketing of My Life as a Cicada. Despite being professionally done in every aspect, the book has never gained any traction with the market. For October to date, I’ve only sold one copy of the Kindle edition, along with a whopping 4 (Four!) copies of paperbacks! I’m absolutely certain the 4 paperback sales would never have happened had I not emphasized the existence of paperbacks with the eye candies in my Kindle book description.

With KDP’s Best Secret, I’ve managed to sell 3 copies of paperback in US and 1 copy in UK. Now this is a very unlikely candidate for print buyers as all the buyers of this book are ebook publishers who use ereaders regularly. Some of them chose the paperbacks simply because I’ve made a special mention of it in my book description.

The above trick is extremely applicable when you put the Kindle edition of your book on KDP Select Free Promotions. While you are giving away the Kindle copies, there may just be a few readers who will buy the paperback version, if you put the reminder in their face, as I am doing on the following book pages:

Amazon Customer Review Quotes: Good? Bad? And How to Get Them?

Folks,

I’ve browsed around and haven’t located a similar thread; hence this new topic.

You know what I’m talking about if you have been selling on Amazon for a while. Amazon’s system has a automatic digestor that aggregates customer reviews posted under a book continuously; once the “overlapping” index of these reviews hits a threshold, Amazon’s digestor posts three quotes that best represent most shared an opinion and present them with eye-catching quotation marks. This feature increases the impact of customer reviews and makes them — pardon my oxymoron here — visually audible.

In the case of my book KDP’s Best-Kept Secret Revealed: How to Embed Videos and Widgets in Your Book Description, the Customer Review Quotes looks like this:

My experience is that a book sells better with the customer review quotes than without. However, this is one area I do not have any solid statistics and I would really love to hear what other authors have to say.

In terms how an author can get these customer review quotes, I’ve learned the following, after publishing on KDP for a few months:

1. The Customer Review Quotes normally do not kick in until a book is about one-month old on Amazon. This may reflect an Amazon safeguard mechanism that prevents the auto digestor from jumping to a conclusion. If Amazon does indeed have such a mechanism as I suspect, it is a good measure that prevents authors and publishers from gaming the system with “arranged” or solicited reviews.
2. The Quotes are not triggered by the count of the reviews received. For Amazon’s review digestor to abstract quotes, there must be three distinctive opinions that are shared. Each of these opinions must be shared. Amazon’s auto digestor must be able to states under each quoted opinion that at least 1 (one) other reviewer made a similar statement.
3. The minimum count of reviews received to trigger the digestor quote abstraction appear to be 5. This is another healthy sanity measure on the part of the auto digestor. If a book has just received a mere three or four reviews and they all say exactly the same things, they reviews are suspiciously too uniform.

Here’s my conclusions:

1. Amazon’s Customer Review Quotes generation algorithm is brilliant and effective.
2. Try to satisfy the minimum requirement for the auto digestor to generate quotes from your book’s reviews (the age of the book, count of reviews received.)
3. Do not ever purchase, guide, arrange reviews or write your own reviews and have someone post it.

Related to point # 3, I am strongly against authors paying so-called “professional reviewers” for their uppity reviews. A real paying customer delivers a gutsy review that is a thousand times more likely to resonate with another paying customer. If you are feeling generous about your money, have a free giveaway to capture that particular group of readers. A fraction of those readers may just return you with a few reviews that instantly build the Amazon Customer Review Quotes!