Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Using Kindle to Create a Spark

Last January my husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday. How had I survived so long without one of these things? I know what the critics say… they like the tactile feeling of holding a book in their hands. Kindles make the reading experience too generic. They don’t want what they read to be battery-powered. Each book is an experience unto itself, and they like to see that experience represented in their book shelves.
            I sort of get these protestations, but ultimately I think the Kindle is the best entertainment device invented since the ipod. I also think the Kindle is going to revolutionize the publishing industry in the same way that the ipod revolutionized the music industry.
            Yeah, yeah. I’m not saying anything new. In fact, I’m way behind on this way of thinking, and I’ve only just begun to realize it.
            Back in 2007 when Following My Toes was published the Kindle had yet to be invented, and print on demand publishing was just catching on. I had to work hard to get reviews or press, but it was possible, and I got several places to review it, in addition to an article in Minnesota Women’s Press and one in a local neighborhood paper, the Sun Times. None of this sold a lot of books, however.
            Now it’s 2011, and Starring in the Movie of My Life is a tougher sell. I contacted all of the same places that reviewed and liked Following My Toes, but none of them even responded to my request for a review. By some miracle I got reviewed by RT Times and Midwest Book Reviews, which astounds me. I believe the market is completely over-saturated with books now, and the competition has become fiercer than ever when it comes to receiving attention.
            That’s the bad news.
            Here’s the good news:
  • There are tons of book blogs out there, and several of these blogs have agreed to review Starring in the Movie of My Life. This could be even better than getting reviewed by “established” places because these blogs have loyal readers who place a lot of trust in the blog writers.
  • It is actually possible to sell a lot of books if you’re independently published, due to the Kindle and other e-readers.

Why? Well, when you’re not part of a big publishing house, you can price your books however you want, and due to no shipping and printing expenses,  you can still make money selling electronic versions of your books even if they’re only $.99. That’s what Amanda Hocking did.
            For those of you who aren’t familiar with Amanda Hocking, she wrote and independently published a paranormal teen-romance series, priced it cheaply, sold over a million copies, the foreign rights to her books, and last I read (in Entertainment Weekly), had been picked up by a major publisher.
            Was it easy? No. I have read her blog entries, and she worked very hard. Even still, she acknowledges how lucky she is. I, of course, am insanely jealous.
            So taking a page from her playbook, PMI books priced Following My Toes at $.99 and Starring in the Movie of My Life at $2.99. Following My Toes is selling more than it ever has, sometimes even one or two copies a day. I would love for it to make the top thousand in Kindle sales, but so far the highest it’s achieved is the top twelve-thousand. (I think there are around 750,000 Kindle books available on Amazon.) Starring in the Movie of My Life is barely moving at all.
            I’ve sent out lots of review copies of each book, both print and electronic versions. Now comes the time when I need to be patient and wait for the reviews to come in and word of mouth to spread.  But that is so hard, because I have no faith it will actually happen, and I also feel like there must be SOMETHING else I could be doing. But what?
            I write this blog. I’ve joined Good Reads, Library Thing, Book Blogs, and Book Town. I try to participate in all of them, but I also have these things called a full-time job and a family. There are only so many hours in the day.
            So I’m left with this feeling that my dream of being widely read is just out of reach. But at least with the Kindle, it’s closer than it’s ever been before.

BTW - If anybody out there has sold a lot of Kindle books on Amazon, I'd love to hear how you did it!

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly how you feel. I'm trying to write, promote, edit, keep my house clean, and take care of my family. It is never-ending. And I check my sales hoping for more than 2 a day. There are times I talk myself out of checking my sales, hoping that if I hold off until later, there just might be more.

    It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Joining sites and blogs and having a presence out there helps. Are you on Kindleboards? If not, join. It's a great forum with really kind people.

    Good luck :)