Sunday, May 28, 2017

Finally - An Effective, Low-cost Way to Promote KDP FREE Days!

The competition in the fiction market is fierce. If you're like me, the problem you face is not that readers don't like your story. It's the fact you're having a hard time getting your stories in front of readers.

Thus, the logic behind using KDP Select Free days, giving your book away for free in order to give readers a chance to "find" your books. Granted, it wrankles a bit to give away something so much time, effort and passion has been invested in, not to mention money, but, you have to help your audience find you.

Since my books are part of a series, I accepted the fact long ago the first book in the series will have to be a loss leader. It will either be free or for sale for .99 cents. Someday in the future is will likely become permafree.

If as an author you are going to give away free copies of your book as part of your marketing strategy, be it to find readers, gain reviews or try to boost sales of other titles in the series, you want to maximize your KDP Free days.

Experimenting with this marketing tactic can be a but frustrating as KDP only allows the author five days per 90 day enrollment period to give away books. Patience is not high on my list of traits when I'm trying to figure out how to best perform a task.

Enrolling your book in individual book promotion services is a time consuming, frustrating task and to be honest, not always particularly effective.

Book Marketing Tools offers a low cost, quick tool that allows an author to list their free days for a mere $29. For twenty minutes of my time and $29, my KDP FREE days were listed on 27 sites that feature free ebooks and have e-mail lists.

The result?

I gave away 3375 copies of The Predator and The Prey in just three days. 

To put that in perspective, the previous best giveaway for that novel was 475 copies in three days.

If I'm going to give it away, then I want to give away as many copies as possible. The KENP pages read for the sequel, Last Train to Nowhere, jumped from 0 to over 2,000 in just a few days and I sold 27 copies at $3.99 in the same time period, so I at least broke even.

In what is certain to be a marathon if I am to reach the size audience I hope to, this is a marketing tactic I will return to repeatedly.

Friday, May 19, 2017

How to Use GoodReads to Generate Amazon and GoodReads Reviews

I had no clue this was a legitimate possibility. Alinka Rutkowska, a successful children's author and author coach, has a new, inexpensive online course to show you how to go about connecting with readers on GoodReads in order to generate reviews.

In the course of the nine years I have been self-publishing, I have managed to waste a fair amount of money on books, courses, etc, claiming to help me sell more books. Some have been worth the money I spent. Most have not.

Alinka's course was not only inexpensive, I managed to reach out to multiple readers who like the style of novel I write and give good reviews! It took me 30 minutes to elicit 8 readers to accept a free copy of my novel.

Part of why it took 30 minutes was the need for me to re-watch the online class to figure out to how to work my way around GoodReads, a site I don't find particularly intuitive.

I've learned three things are going to be important to market and sell my fiction. 
  • I have to get readers to discover the series.
  • I have to get reviews for the first book in the series.
  • I need people to sign-up for my e-newsletter list.
 Alinka's system will help with all three.

I realize this sounds like a cheesy sales pitch. I'm terrible at this sort of writing. Also, for full disclosure the link below is an affiliate link. I wouldn't pitch this if I didn't think the information was worthwhile. 


For purposes of comparison, I twice spent $47 for Bookrazor's service to obtain a list of 100 Amazon reviewers. Out of those two hundred plus names and e-mails, I generated a grand total of six reviews.

Alinka's course cost $15 and I learned how to find reviewers and how to contact them without spending money. My investment was time. 


I'm not unhappy about the money I spent with Bookrazor. They did exactly what they advertised. But learning how to find and contact reviewers for my book without spending any money is what my budget needs. 




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Download a FREE Copy of The Predator and The Prey! Meet Inspector Thomas Sullivan!

From May 16 through the 20th, The Predator and The Prey, the first book in my Inspector Thomas Sullivan series of scifi thrillers is FREE via Amazon's Kindle.

Meet Inspector Thomas Sullivan as he arrives at his new home world, the frozen planet Beta Prime. Get to know how this tough inspector goes about cleaning up crime in the corrupt, often dark Capital City.

Along the way Sully meets a lot of interesting people, some of whom will join the Inspector in trying to make life better for others. Some of these people simply look out for Number One.

Visit the cold planet with two moons. See how you like it.

Sign-up for The Inspector's Report, my bi-monthly newsletter, and download a free short story!

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Last Train To Nowhere Now In Print - Available for FREE in a GoodReads Giveaway!

The second novel in Inspector Thomas Sullivan Series, Last Train to Nowhere, is now available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions!

Enter to win a signed copy from a GoodReads Giveaway! The contest will end June 10, 2017.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Last Train To Nowhere by K.C. Sivils



          Last Train To Nowhere


          by K.C. Sivils


            Giveaway ends June 10, 2017.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




    Enter Giveaway

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Facebook in Decline? What Impact Will It Have On Publishing?

I don't understand social media, which I suppose is an indicator in part of my age and Luddite ways. I teach at a "technology school" and have been forced to embrace the use of technology far more than I would if left to my own devices. 

Of all the forms of social media, the only one I have partially come to grips with is Facebook. I have two accounts. An author account I set up in the last year because "everyone" says you need one to connect with your readers and one my daughters set up so they could use it go gain "points" for a game they played on Facebook.

The unexpected benefit was I have been discovered by old classmates, students and players I have coached an its been fun. I don't know if it's helped expand my audience as an author, but that's okay.

So, given the fact I am slowly coming to grips with Facebook and how to use it, it's a little disturbing to find the article in Digiday announcing publishers are seeing a decline in the reach of their Facebook campaigns.

The focus of the story is on major publishers and news media publishers, but if the decline of reach impacts the big boys, it might have an equal impact on Indie authors who rely on the Facebook platform to build and reach an audience. 

Worth reading.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Special Deal - Four Books for .99 Plus How This Works! Book Promotion Opportunity Using Book Boast!

Four books for .99!
Ashley L. Hunt eBook Categories
- Cyberpunk Anthology Adventure
- Science Fiction Action Military Romance
- Dystopian Survival Post Apocalyptic Romance
- SciFi Romance Adventure Thriller
- Mystery Thriller Suspense Occult Romance

The readers who prefer the above categories, they will LOVE this eBook!

Includes 4 full-length, no-cliffhanger stories and 2 Big Surprises!

Thank you for reading!

For more details about this offer just click here!

Why am I promoting another author's work on my blog? It's part of a program authors can sign-up for and enlist the aid of other authors to promote their work. Ideally, this promotion would be going out to a couple of thousand potential readers on my e-mail list.

Unfortunately for A.L. Hunt, my list is not that big. So I promised I would post the information on her sale on the sites I do have so she can at least get exposure there.

To learn more about the "Newsletter Swap," visit 

It's free to join and easy to use. Once you have joined, you search through the list of available authors and find those with similar genres to yours. Contact them using the swap request form and schedule your swap. You include their book promotion in your newsletter and they will include your own promotion in their newsletter.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Comparing Two Promotional Campaigns: KDP Select vs. Goodreads Giveaway

Getting the word out about a novel, especially a first novel, is important. Sales really aren't AS important as building an audience is. The same is true for non-fiction if you are planning on writing multiple books. Loyal readers, and the more of them you have, equals lots of dependable sales in the future.

Promotions are part of how authors spread the word about their novels. Since my first novel The Predator and The Prey has been published I have run two promotions. The first was a standard KDP Select Free giveaway. The second was a GoodReads Giveaway.

For those of you who have not heard of a GoodReads Giveaway, the program is simple. You sign your book up for a Giveaway. You can give away as few as one hard copies up to as many as you want. Set the duration of the giveaway, which includes start and ending dates, add a link to your book on Amazon and include some other basic product information and you're done.

GoodReads will pick the winners using an algorithm to randomly select the winners. You are responsible to mail the winners their complimentary copies within three weeks. There are restrictions limiting the contact you can have. This is not a list building promotion.

How did my novel do and which program worked better?

I gave away three signed paperback copies of The Predator and The Prey. A total of 652 people participated and 262 readers added The Predator and The Prey to their to-read list.

The KDP Select Free Giveaway resulted in 475 downloads. Which program resulted in better results?

To be honest, I wish the results of both had been better. The good thing is both programs are can be run multiple times, giving me more opportunities to gain exposure for my novel.

First, Amazon, who owns GoodReads, doesn't provide some data from either promotion I would really like to have, namely how many people looked at my cover, book description, title, etc, and just moved on without taking action.

Still, data of any kind is important and knowing how many readers were interested enough to download a free copy, register for a contest for a free copy and to add the book to their to-read list is a good start.

Even better data would be to know how many readers who downloaded their free copy during the KDP Select giveaway days actually read their free copy. If I had the time and inclination, I could determine the number of readers who added the novel to their to read list and actually read it later, but I'll leave that up to someone far smarter than me to write the program that does that task.

On the surface, it looks like GoodReads might be better even though it cost me the price of three paperback copies and postage since 652 people wanted a free copy, a difference of some 177 readers. Forty percent of those 652 readers indicated they plan to read The Predator and The Prey in the future.

I plan to run more campaigns for the novel in the future using both promotions. In the case of the KDP promotion I will use all five days at one time to see if that produces better results. I will use a book promotion service to promote the giveaway on the third day in an effort to obtain more free downloads.

For the GoodReads Giveaway I will run a slightly shorter campaign and offer more free copies. GoodReads claims ten copies is the ideal number and I'll test that theory. Why fewer days for the giveaway? Nearly a third of the registrations for the giveaway came in the first few days when the book was easy to find on the Recently Listed page. The majority came when the book made the Ending Soon list while registrations languished while the book was in the middle of the two types of listings. To put it simply, people don't wade through the hundreds of books that fall in between the two listings which is why I'm going to try shortening the length of my promotion.

If you haven't done a GoodReads Giveaway yet let me encourage you to do so. GoodReads has data that indicates roughly two thirds of the readers who receive the free copies leave reviews. That's not too bad. Also, the people who belong to GoodReads are avid readers and recommend books to their friends and followers. If there was ever a place to build an audience, GoodReads is certainly a place to exert effort.