I soiled myself this afternoon, just a little. And it wasn’t from the pizza I left out overnight (again). The afore stated befoulment happened after skimming an email I received from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
I always read these emails close enough to see if for some magical reason Amazon has selected me to be the next instant rags-to-riches self-pubbed author. (I have delusions, okay?) This time, I quickly realized the email was about the Kindle Countdown Deals I learned of this morning (from another blog I follow).
The Kindle Countdown Deals Go Beyond Cute
I hadn’t looked too closely into the “countdown deals,” instead dismissing it as another nifty Amazon strategy to suck authors and publishers into exclusivity with KDP (via KDP Select). I decided a year ago that KDP wasn’t really for me. The benefit of being able to easily “pulse” scheduled promotions of my titles didn’t override my desire to spread my content far and wide.
I don’t like to be tied down. One committed relationship in my life is enough. I’m a child of Generation X, dagnabbit. The man’s constantly trying to get me down, and I don’t even know who the man is! (Oh, it’s Amazon, that’s right.)
Anyway, so back to the reason I had to bidet my backside. On the surface, the Countdown Deal allows the author/publisher to run a promotion on Amazon which displays an actual countdown timer revealing when the promotional deal will expire.
Clever, right? Now the first thing to catch the reader’s eye will be an inanimate salesperson tapping the reader’s shoulder and saying, “This deal is for a limited time only! Get it now, or forever regret your lack of fortitude, you gutless wonder! Don’t shop around! Buy, buy, buy!”
While clever, this is by no means enough to drag me back to KDP Select and its exclusive demands. Then I read the next bullet point in the email I received:
- Retain a 70% royalty rate – You will earn royalties based on your regular royalty rate and the promotional price. As a result, if you are using the 70% royalty option, you’ll earn 70% even if the price is below $2.99.
What the crap!? Did I read that right? I mean, son of a–[deep breaths]–
You had me at, ‘$$$.’
Okay, maybe you didn’t have the same response I did. But let me explain the significance of this. I am currently running a week long promo on my novel, De Novo Syndrome. The regular price of $2.99 (at 70% royalty) has been lowered to $0.99 (30% royalty) for the duration of the promo. That means every copy I sell this week will net me around $0.30 instead of $2 at the normal price and royalty or $0.70 a copy at the promotional price with 70% royalty.
With the help of mailing lists such as Bookbub, Book Gorilla, Pixel of Ink and Kindle Books and Tips I have already sold hundreds of copies at the lower price and royalty. Now lets do some math (oh can it, all you Bachelor of Arts people). Five hundred copies at $0.30 a copy is $150.00 (I did that in my head, by the way.) This is enough to pay off about 3/4 of my promo expenses.
Five hundred copies at $0.70 a copy is $350.00 (enough to cover my expenses and then some).
I got a B.A. in Elementary Education, so these big numbers sometimes elude me. But I’m pretty sure $350 is over 2x more than $150. And as a commercial novelist, I’m in the business of making more money rather than less (at least until I can afford to look down my nose at others).
Now imagine I sell 2,000 copies of De Novo Syndrome during the week of the promo. This number isn’t ridiculous. That’s almost an extra $1000 when receiving the higher 70% royalty.
Yes, KDP Select, you’ve regained my attention. Since around 90% of my sales come from Amazon anyway, it is tempting to ditch that 10% in order to flirt with the Kindle Countdown Deals and their extra 40% royalties.
On top of the extra royalties, Amazon will also provide an easy means for customers to browse all the current Countdown Deals available. (I’m assuming this will include the ability to search the deals by the time they have remaining, which will certainly lead to more discoverability and a final surge of sales right as the clock expires.)
After breathing into my dirty Homer-Simpson-Slipper and regathering myself. They only question still stuck in my head was, “Why can’t anyone else do this?” Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, iBooks, I’m looking at you. Amazon continues to prove they deserve to be the best by being the best. While my ideals tell me to invite all the kids to my party, I can’t feed my box wine habit with ideals.