How to Survive Amazon's KDP Free Book Program

20 Jul

Signing up for Amazon’s KDP program gives you the privilege of having Amazon will sell your book for nothing. The big ‘Zon will do this for five days during the 90 day slot you’re required to enroll.

Yes, they’ll sell your book for nothing, allowing you to do all sorts of marketing shenanigans, like this. What is the cost of the program? Nothing. That’s right, they’ll give your book away gratis and not charge you a dime.

Sounds like a whole lot of nothing going on. I’ll find out.

Tomorrow, July 21, is my first FREE DAY for my book The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy with Kindle’s KDP free book program. The day after that, Sunday, July 22, the second FREE DAY with the same book. I’m using my friend Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s How I Made Over $42,000 in One Month Selling my Kindle eBooks (known at $42K hereafter). This is a really good guidebook outlining what Cheryl did to make a small fortune doing exactly what I’m going to be doing. It’s all there, step by step.

The first thing I learned as I began implementing Cheryl’s plan was: allow more than 2 days to set the thing up. For some reason, I thought it would be quick and easy. But then, I’m the woman who almost killed herself doing an Amazon Bestseller Day Launch and sold 13 books. Click the link and read about it in agonizing detail.

I have already demonstrated a colossal inability to pull off net-based marketing schemes. I will tell you what I did in the two days I allotted to Operation Get ’em to Download in a moment. I want to tell you the most important insight I’ve gotten from $42K first. Here goes:

In $42K, Cheryl Tardif talks about how she loves to do marketing and is really good at it. She loves being creative and trying new methods of getting her work out to readers. Not only does she know she’s good at it, so does the author community on-line. And her  millions of readers. Whey you read $42K, you’ll know what a good marketer Cheryl is, too. And she’s making all that money.

I am not a marketing person. That was my flaming insight. Whereas some people’s campaigns go fizzle-pop, straight to the top, mine do not. Or at least they haven’t so far.

What I am is an extremely good story-teller and writer. Extremely. I also create beautiful books of superior quality. (Tell it, Sandy! Tell it like it is!) That’s why I got my 22 (count ’em) national awards and why my reviews are so high. I’m a writer and author, not a social media guru. If you want to read a good book, read this one: The Angel. It’s free on July 21 & 22, 2012.

The other thing about my writing is that it’s for people who think. You don’t have to be a genius to be  concerned about the future of our planet, but you do have to think.  If we don’t get it together and stop calling each other names, will we blow up Earth? That’s what The Angel   is about.

So, if you expect me to be all over Facebook on Monday crowing about, “My fans downloaded 100,000 eBooks this weekend,” think again. (Click the Facebook link. That’s my page. You can Like me. 🙂  PM me and I’ll reciprocate. Also––tell me if my Like button works. I’ve heard it doesn’t, and also that it doesn’t exist, which is proof of what I’m saying. Whose FB Like button doesn’t work?)  Don’t expect big brags from me when this thing shakes down. Or any brags.

I’m entering a time of lowered expectations. Remember the famous Saturday Night Live riffs by the same name? Or was it Mad TV? To stimulate your memory, here’s an example. (I am not responsible for the  language or level of vulgarity in this video. I just laugh.)

Now that we’ve gotten that straight, here’s my lowered expectations  forecast of the number of eBooks I’ll download over the weekend. Ready? Here it comes:   3.

That’s right, 3 eBooks.

Any less than 3 and it’s seppuku time for Sandy. So download one of those puppies and save a lot of mess in the Nathan household. The Angel


Buy Cheryl Tardif’s book and do what she says She’s done it. $42K,

So, you missed that one and you’ve got two days to establish a social presence and notify the universe about what’s coming its way. THIS IS WHAT I DID:

My free days were Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday of that week, I thought, I better get going. I pulled together $42K, the various lists and articles and all kinda stuff that tell you what you should do and went, “Uh-oh.”

Moving at warp speed, I went over all Amazon the sale pages of all my books, listed here, My Amazon Page, to make sure that they made sense and were properly spelled and punctuated.  This was on the odd chance that someone might go to The Angel and get interested in me and more of my books. (I’ve got six!) I also updated My Amazon Page to announce that The Angel was going to be free.

Then I wrote three blog articles about the free days: Your Shelf Life (The link may not work. My own blogs are giving me Bad Request messages. This is how it is for me.), and Sandy Nathan’s Personal Blog and finally The Official Tales From Earth’s End Blog.

My fanny was dragging at this point and I hadn’t contacted any reader-centric blogs to list my book. Good thing, too, because when I started doing it, they all said, “Allow 2 weeks for us to process your request.” Well, I submitted anyway. I don’t really know where or what. I was moving too fast.

What next? TWITTER! Everybody scores with TWITTER! John Locke sold a million eBooks through Twitter.  This is an area with potential. I have 9,574 followers. (You can follow me, too! My Twitter name is @sandyonathan)

The thing is, I neglect them. I don’t really like social media (though I like you a great deal). I resist sitting in front of a screen for hours every day, feeling my derriere spread and my body sag into a pear shape. I resist it, but it’s happened anyway.

Shouldn’t have resisted though, Might need those friendships one day. Today, for instance. Nevertheless, I thought I’d try Cheryl’s advice and bombard my Twitter followers with clever 140 character epithets about the Angel being free. (Angels are always free, aren’t they?)

That required having a way to preload my tweets so I wouldn’t have to sit by my computer hand-loading them all day. Cheryl  suggests Hootsuite for setting up tweets in advance. I had some other software for organizing tweets installed. PeepDip? It has a black background and flashes and peeps every time anyone in the universe tweets.  You can’t shut it up. Irritates the hell out of me. Also, I didn’t know how to load a batch of tweets with it.

Downloaded Hootsuite. Found where you load bulk tweets. You can’t just copy and paste, though. You have to use an Excel sheet. I can do that. I followed their instructions to the letter, and quotation mark, using their downloadable template as a guide. Composing about 48 (1 per hour of The Angel’s “free” time), clever and non-repetitive tweets loaded with #s (which took forever), I uploaded my Excel table into the designated slot. Yay!!!!

No yay. Hootsuite gave me a message saying, “There’s only 1 error in your document. To fix it, go to: a bunch of forums.” I scanned those, almost hysterical by that time. Then I noted that the example of the properly formatted tweet shown on the site was NOT the same as the downloaded example. NOT, NOT.

So I redid my ten million tweets and thought about my dear friend Mara Purl, who reached the #1 in Amazon (All of Amazon!) slot with her free days.

Suicide was beginning to look good. Anything but being an independent publisher. I got paid good money for my work with every other job I’ve done . . . It was not a good night.

Since we had to catch an early morning flight (I told you we were going on vacation, didn’t I?), I called it a day.

Hours later, my husband and I were in Santa Fe NM, romance capital of the universe. Problems fly away here. I think it’s the altitude. The lack of air causes brain damage. For whole periods at a time, I did not give a flying anything about the coming weekend or results or anything but blue skies and bliss.

Didn’t last though, So here I sit, pecking on a keyboard in the middle of the night with lightning flashing in the distance and  beautiful Santa Fe all around me.

But that’s enough for one day. I will turn this around, if only in my head. We’re here (on the planet) to live in bliss and love, not drudgery like the above. I write spiritually informed, visionary fiction. Time to live it.

Nighty nite! Sweet dreams! And remember to down load The Angel.  How often are Angels free?

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-two national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback & Kindle available)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback & Kindle available)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice



Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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    […] The KDP glow didn’t last, so I’m planning on repeating it a couple of times in the next 2 months. Is it work? Oh, yeah. Here’s my article about what I did to prepare. […]

  2. Sandy Nathan's YOUR SHELF LIFE » Plucky Grandmother Fights Amazon, Apple, and BookBaby over KDP Promotion - October 9, 2012

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