Jonny Nexus

Writing, life, politics

Tag: kindle

To KDP Select, Or Not To KDP Select… That Is The Awful Moral Choice

Below emphases in all quotes, mine:

What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is an optional program for you to reach even more readers and gives you the opportunity to earn more money. If you choose to make a book exclusive to the Kindle Store, which is a requirement during your book’s enrollment in KDP Select, the book will also be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). [snip] In addition, by choosing KDP Select, you will have access to a new set of promotional tools, including Kindle Countdown Deals (limited time promotional discounting for your book) and Free Book Promotion (readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time).

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A6KILDRNSCOBA

When you publish an ebook, the most important decision you have to make is probably whether or not to join Amazon’s KDP Select programme, where – if you agree to sell your ebook exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle store – you get access to a whole bunch of promotional goodies.

How much will being exclusive hurt you in terms of lost sales elsewhere? Probably not much.

During a round-table discussion Tim said “I do a have a concern that Amazon’s dominance is causing problems. We estimate Kindle has a 95% market share of e-book sales in the UK and this is having a damaging effect… Consider the struggles of Barnes & Noble and the Nook platform, the problems of the established Txtr in Germany, and the decision here of Tesco to pull out of Blinkbox Books.”

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/amazon-controls-95-of-the-ebook-market-in-the-uk

That’s the UK, but I suspect the US is similar. And 95% is what I would call a near-monopoly position. Let’s put it this way, if being on KDP Select increases your Kindle sales by a mere 6%, then it will have made up for the sales you lost by going exclusive. Will it help you make more than 6%?

The importance of a launch for your book in the Kindle store can not be overstated. And it’s not for the reasons you think i.e. your book being read by a bunch of old fans and discovered by new ones. A book launch is important because you need to get as many downloads as you can—at this stage it doesn’t matter if it’s actually read or not—so that your book will be favourably indexed by Amazon’s algorithms. I have it on good authority that if this favourable indexing doesn’t occur, your book will languish in the bowels of the Kindle store forever, never to be found by anyone. The only way a book can recover from a non-launch (so I’m told) is to unpublish it and relaunch it with a new cover and a new ASIN.

So what’s the best way to launch your book? Lots of downloads (hundreds, thousands) in the first few days it is released; however, unless you are an established author (I’m not) with a gigantic email list (don’t have) this is difficult to achieve. The only other way to do it is to make it free, and you can only do that if you enrol your book in Kindle Select, where you are allowed five free days per quarter for each book you have enrolled. You also have to let readers know it’s free, and that means spending money (not much if you don’t want to) on promoting it.

http://www.dianelee.com.au/dont-make-these-6-self-publishing-mistakes/

I think at this point I’ve dropped enough dots that it’s almost an insult to the reader to join them, but forgive me if I go ahead anyway. The deal that Amazon are offering, a few extra tools in return for offering them a monopoly on your book, would not make sense were it not for the fact that they have a near monopoly position in the ebook market; by offering such a deal, and having huge numbers of authors accept it, they help cement the near monopoly position that makes that deal worthwhile.

So going with KDP Select is a no-brainer, right? You’d have to be an idiot to turn it down?

Well I’m an idiot.

I’m a Kindle user myself, not on Amazon hardware, but on my iPhone using Amazon’s free Kindle app. But I just don’t feel comfortable with telling readers who’ve bought non-Kindle devices that they can’t legally read my books, at all, ever, in ebook form. So in addition to being on Kindle, I’ve made both Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly available on Smashwords. Readers can purchase them there in a variety of DRM-free formats, but Smashwords also distribute them to the other major ebook platforms, including iBooks, Nook, and Kobo.

In the short term, this decision will undoubtably hurt me. In the longer term, I’m hoping that good old-fashioned word of mouth buzz will help me catch up. And either way, while I fully respect everyone who made the decision to go with KDP Select, for now, this is a decision I feel happy with.

Mostly.

* * * * *

IfPIgsCouldFlyCover-FrontOnly-MediumIf Pigs Could Fly is available in both paperback and e-book format, from all leading outlets.

E-Book

Amazon UK (£1.99): [link]

Amazon US ($2.99): [link]

Smashwords (£1.99 | $2.99): [link]

Paperback

Amazon UK (£6.99): [link]

Amazon US ($9.99): [link]

If Pigs Could Fly should also be available on iBooks, Nook, and Kobo within a few days of its publication.

“West Kensington Paranormal Detective Agency. Doctor Ravinder Shah speaking. No case too weird, no problem too bizarre. Strangeness a speciality. How can I help you?”

London Social Worker Rav Shah moonlights as a paranormal detective, aided by one of his clients and a Border Collie he rents by the hour. It was supposed to be a bit of fun: a search for truths out there; a quest for a life more interesting than the one that fate, destiny, and personal apathy had granted him.

But then a case involving a Yorkshire farmer and a herd of flying pigs leads him into a world darker and more dangerous than he’d ever dreamed.

The truth is indeed out there.

And it’s got Rav square in its sights.

On Amazon Pricing Policies

When publishing a book, one of the big questions you have to ask yourself is: how much am I going to charge for it? And in an era where you will have two versions, a physical paper version and an electronic e-reading version, of which the latter is probably the most important product, this is actually quite a hard question. A lot of it comes down to the psychology of pricing.

For the new Game Night, and if Pigs Could Fly when it comes out, I’ve gone for a fairly simple policy.

Paperback (trade): $9.99 US / £6.99 UK

Ebook (Kindle + others): $2.99 US / £1.99 UK

I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t mention that those two ebook prices are the minimum price points at which Amazon will pay you a 70% royalty; anything below that pays 35%. That fact did help me pick the actual price points. But I genuinely feel that those prices are a fair price for a novel, with the Ebook prices especially hitting that point where I feel I’m getting a reasonable price for the work while the reader/purchaser feels that they’re paying a reasonable price for what is, at the end of the day, nothing more than a digital file.

Obviously, other people will come to other conclusions. It’s a confusing market. But then you see something like this:

MadKindlePrice

I’m sorry, but that’s just insane. Asking someone to pay £8.54 for the Kindle version might be reasonable if: a) the book has just come out and the only other, physical, version is say a hardback priced at £18.99, or; b) this is a very expensive textbook with the physical version being much more expensive.

But when it’s a book that launched more than three years ago, and the paperback version is barely fifty pence more, that makes no sense at all. In the US, this book is even more incoherently priced: you can buy the paperback new for $9.22 while the Kindle version will set you back $13.31.

What I think happened is that they originally launched a hardback version (there’s one now, priced at £12.95) and a Kindle version, setting the Kindle version to complement the hardback price. And then, when they launched the paperback version, they just, plain, damn… forgot to reduce the price of the Kindle version. Which in the Kindle era, in my opinion, qualifies as incompetence of the highest order.

It’s the poor author I feel sorry for.

 

An Interesting Benefit Of Having A Paper Version

At some point in the future, I’m going to write a post explaining the steps I had to follow to get my novel Game Night available on Amazon’s Kindle platform. (It was already available in the traditional “paper” format). But did just want to mention something that I realised / noticed today.

When you publish your book to Kindle, you can’t specify that it is the Kindle version of an existing paper book. Instead, you’re supposed to wait and allow the Amazon database to figure this out and link them together.  In my case, that didn’t seem to happen, resulting in me having to contact them, supply the details of the paper and Kindle versions, and ask them to do it – which they did.

The process takes several days and isn’t yet complete. When it is, reviews written about the paper version should appear on the Kindle version’s page (which is currently reviewless), and when going to the paper version’s page, you will be offered the option of purchasing the book on Kindle.

But there’s a third benefit, which didn’t occur to me until I was looking at the (now partially linked) Kindle page, and seeing how the price is displayed now that it is lined to the print version (click to make bigger):

Now I’m not an expert in the psychology of prices and pricing. But I think that might be quite cool.

See, if I had only a Kindle version, the price would be £0.70. A browser might come across this and conclude that it is “cheap”. But they might also conclude that it’s clearly not worth much. But now, they see that the price is £0.70 compared with a price for the print version of £7.99 – a saving of 91%. It’s no longer £0.70 for something worth £0.70, but £0.70 for something worth £7.99. I’m hoping that the word that will come to mind now will be “bargain” rather than “cheap”. (There is a proper name for this “price expectation” effect, but I can’t remember it now).

Well here’s hoping, anyhow.

Game Night on Kindle – How You Can Help Me

My novel Game Night is now out on the Kindle, priced at what I’d consider to be a bargain launch price of just 99c (or 70p in the UK). I’m not sure what to expect or hope of this. It might prove to be a runaway success, going viral in the way that the paper version just didn’t quite manage, and selling tens of thousands of copies.

Or it might fizzle out and die, taking my hope and dreams with it.

There isn’t so much I can do to determine which of those two outcomes occur. But there is something that you can do. Two things in particular. It’s really quite cheeky for me to ask you to do them, but it’s really important to me, and I’m hoping you won’t mind.

Firstly, you can buy the Kindle version of Game Night, even if you’ve already got the paper version. You don’t need a Kindle. Amazon do free Kindle applications for Windows PC, Mac OS X, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. These allow you to purchase and read Kindle books just as if you had an actual Kindle. (It’s pretty straight-forward, but I’ve put some instructions at the end).

During this initial launch period, it will only cost you 99c in the US, or 70p in the UK, which I’d like to feel is a small enough amount that I can ask you to do as a favour to me, albeit a rather considerable one for which I will owe you a drink. (In case you’re interested, the amount of money I’ll get out of that is 35c, but it will be worth far, far more than that to me).

Buying Game Night is pretty crucial. At present, if you type “Game Night” into Amazon you get a long list of books with Game Night in the title, not one of which is my one. If enough of you buy Game Night I’ll be at the top of that list. Sales will also give it a high Amazon ranking, which gives the book credibility with readers and will help it get into Amazon’s crucial recommendation system.

Secondly, assuming you’ve enjoyed reading Game Night, you can recommend it to people who follow you on social networks like Twitter and Facebook as well as the many forum sites out there. I’ll be doing tweets about Game Night. If you’re a twitter user and could retweet one of them (or even better do your own tweet), I’d be very grateful. When it comes to making Game Night really take off, I can light the fire, but it’s those around me who have to blow on the flames.

The best links to use are:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

Finally, as always, if you liked Game Night then I would be very happy if you did a short review, either on Amazon or your own blog, saying so. Alternatively, you can go to the Amazon pages for the book (the above links) and click on the “Like” button, to say that you like the book. (Assuming you do, or course!)

And it would be especially nice if you comment here, or on Twitter or Facebook, to say that you’ve bought or retweeted or posted.

I know this entire post is just a tad cheeky, but I really will be grateful for any and all help. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

HOW TO BUY A KINDLE BOOK (IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE A KINDLE)

1) Download and install the appropriate app. If you have a Windows PC, you can download it here. If you have an Apple Mac, you can download it here (it will only work Macs bought within the last five years, as you need an Intel one and it needs to be running at least OS X 10.5 Leopard). Otherwise, if you have an iPad, an iPhone, a BlackBerry, or some kind of Android phone or tablet, you should download the “Kindle” app from whichever app store you normally use. In all case, it’s free.

2) Enter your Amazon account details into the app (i.e. you log in). US customers can enter their Amazon.com account details. UK customers can enter their Amazon.co.uk details.

3) Click on the “Kindle Store” button. This will take you to the Kindle Store. (Which is basically the Amazon website, but showing only Kindle titles).

4) Search for “Jonny Nexus”. Pick Game Night from the resulting list. (It should be either 99c or 70p, depending on whether you’re on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).  Click that you want to buy it.

That’s it. It should then be automatically downloaded to whichever app you’re using to make the purchase. If you have multiple Kindle apps (on both your iPad and iPhone say, or Windows PC and Android phone) you can download it to the “other” app by going into the “Archived” section and selecting Game Night. (You only pay once, even if you read it on multiple devices).

Game Night on Kindle: It’s Here!

I tweeted about this early this morning, but my novel Game Night is now available on the Kindle for a time-limited launch price of 99c in the US and 70p in the UK. Here’s where you can find it:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-ebook…

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-ebook…

As part of his I’ve done a press release, reproduced below. Please feel free to grab any or all of it if you want to post something up on a blog, on Facebook, or on a forum.

PRESS RELEASE

Game Night, Jonny Nexus’s 2007 ENnie-nominated novel of roleplaying gods, is now available on Amazon’s Kindle platform, with versions available both for standard Kindles as well as the Kindle apps for PC, iPhone, iPad and Android. To celebrate this event, it will initially be sold at a bargain launch rate of just 99 cents in the US (Amazon.com) and 70 pence in the UK (Amazon.co.uk).

As well as achieving the prestigious ENnie nomination, Game Night was widely lauded in reviews. Cartoonist and writer John Kovalic said:

“A Pratchet-esque debut novel of gods, roleplaying, and game-night kerfuffles … Buy Game Night. It’s a fun, fresh, irreverent read that’ll ring true to any gamer even if, unlike the protagonists, you happen not to be a god.”

And on RPGNet, RPG writer and reviewer Steve Darlington declared:

“The best novel ever written about gaming. One of the funniest novels ever written about anything.”

The novel’s author, Jonny Nexus, says: “Launching Game Night on the Kindle is a big thrill for me. The paper version of Game Night got a better response than I’d ever hoped for. People really enjoyed it, both gamers and non-gamers. It really seemed to strike a chord, and I can’t wait for a whole new group of people to read it.”

Game Night on the Kindle can be found on Amazon at:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

204 words

ABOUT JONNY NEXUS

Jonny Nexus lives in Brighton with his wife, their dog, and an array of chew toys that the dog invariably leaves on the top-most step but one.

He is the editor, co-founder, and chief-writer of the cult gaming webzine Critical Miss. He wrote The Slayer’s Guide to Games Masters for leading roleplaying publisher Mongoose Publishing, as well as writing a monthly column for their magazine Signs & Portents.

His debut novel Game Night, published by Magnum Opus Press in 2007, was shortlisted for a Gen Con EN World Award (an “Ennie”). This August, Mongoose Publishing will publish “The NeXus Files”, a compilation of Jonny’s Signs & Portents articles. And a short story of his (“On Her Majesty’s Deep Space Service”) will be appearing in a forthcoming anthology from new publisher Stone Skin Press.

Game Night – Coming Soon On Kindle At Special Launch Offer Price

I’m very pleased to announce that after getting various issues out of the way, my ENnie nominated fantasy humour novel Game Night will be arriving on the Kindle within a couple of weeks. It will be available not only for the standard Kindle, but for Kindle on Android, iPhone and iPad also.

Game Night front cover A ten-thousand-year quest is about to be completed. Prophecies will be fulfilled, ancient riddles answered, legendary evils bested, and the nature of the universe revealed. All that’s needed is a band of mighty heroes to do the completing.

Unfortunately for the locals, some of the gods have taken a personal interest in the chronicle of these heroes’ adventures. Now they are each guiding one of the characters towards the conclusion of their epic journey. That is, when they’re not squabbling, backstabbing each other, blowing things up by accident, refusing to play by the rules, and turning the AllFather’s creation into a mess of petty arguments, fantasy cliché, gratuitous combat and unnecessary dice-rolls.

If you thought your games group couldn’t be any worse, Game Night shows just how bad things can get when a bunch of unruly deities decide they want to play. And may the heavens help us all.

“The best novel ever written about gaming. One of the funniest novels ever written about anything.” —RPGNet review (rating 5/5) by Steve Darlington

But wait, there’s more!

Sorry, appear to be channelling the inner QVC I wasn’t aware I had.

But there is more. While I’m not necessarily aiming for world domination, it’s important to me that Game Night does well. Not just on a personal level, but because I need something to show agents and publishers that, contrary to what they might think, there is actually a market for humour fantasy/SF, and that just maybe I’m someone who can write it. So far, it’s done okay in terms of sales (probably around 1800 copies sold so far), and very well in terms of how well people liked it. But it seems I need more if I want it to be something that causes agents to sniff at my door.

So the second bit of news is that Game Night will launch on the Kindle at a special launch price of 99 cents (and a similar amount in the UK). Yes, that’s $0.99. This isn’t what I think my novel is worth – I think it’s worth a lot more. But it is an amount that I’m hoping will provoke curiosity, interest, and those all-import re-tweets.

At some point the price will go up to what I think the novel is worth (I haven’t yet determined what that is, but I know it’s more than the price of a small bottle of cola). So if you’ve got access to a Kindle device or app, and you haven’t yet read Game Night then I’d suggest you buy it when you can.

Actually, you know what? I’d just ask you to buy it.

And if you have another device, I will be trying to get Game Night out in other formats just as soon as I get this out of the way.

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