KDP Select free book promo results

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverI posted about trying out Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select back in January before I released my fourth full-length fantasy novel The Heir to Alexandria. It would be my second time trying the Kindle program. (I first tried it with my short story The Search.)

KDP Select is a program where you sell your e-book exclusively on Amazon. As part of the perks, you can either offer your book free for up to five days or offer it at a discount using their Kindle Countdown promotion. Your agreement with Amazon lasts 90 days, and then you can choose whether to renew your enrollment in the program or not.

Now some authors don’t like the program for its exclusivity as not all readers have a Kindle. You could be losing or angering some fans who have a different e-reader. By choosing to be exclusive to Amazon, you are in a sense putting all your eggs in one basket (though a really good basket as Amazon is the largest e-book retailer).

Now my thought about this is that I would only use the program for the initial 90 days and then release my e-book in other formats at Barnes & Noble, Kobo store, I Tunes and all the other e-book retailers after that. I don’t have such a following (yet) that I need to worry about angering my fans by only using Amazon for a short period.

So now let’s get on to my results from using KDP Select’s free book promotion.

First Free E-book Offer

I was really busy when my book came out at the end of January that I didn’t get a chance to offer it for free until March. Research showed that Tuesday and Wednesday would be best for a free promotion. So I picked March 10-11, which was during my kids’ Spring Break vacation from school.

Figuring out how to get the word out about your free book is always complex. I of course announced it on my blog, and my Tribber team helped spread the word. I also listed it on Independent Author Network‘s and World Literary Cafe’s free book sections. Many other websites won’t list your free book if you don’t have the required amount of reviews (typically 20 or more 4 or 5 star reviews) so I didn’t have a lot of other options.

Here is the breakdown from my first two free days…

March 10 – 65 books

March 11 – 11 books

Total free books – 76

Now that wasn’t as good as a result as I would have wanted. But my April was set to be really busy in the beginning and many websites, in addition to the review requirements, want notice of up to weeks in advance.

Second Free E-book Offer

So for my second set of free days, I decided to purchase a few advertisements. I spent $15 ($5 a day) to appear on Digital Book Today‘s website. I also applied to be on E-Reader News Today‘s email and website. (They have to approve you.) For only $15 I would be on Wednesday’s e-mail list and on their homepage. So in addition to these and my previous efforts, this time my free days would also happen during the A to Z challenge when my blog would be getting more traffic.

Here is the breakdown of my second set of free days…

April 21 – 234 books

April 22 (day of E-Reader News Ad) – 1769 books

April 23 – 737 books

Total free books – 2740

top 100 - 82During the free promotion and the week after, I received three new reviews and sold five copies of The Search, two copies of Summoned (Book 1 of my trilogy), one copy of Quietus (Book 2 of my trilogy), and five copies of my trilogy box set. This is in comparison to only one box set sold during my March free promo.

#1 fantasyDuring the free promo, I also rose in sales rank. The Heir to Alexandria got as high as 82 on Kindle’s top 100 free list. It also stayed at number 1 in Epic Fantasy for a whole day.

So do I regret offering my hard work for free? Not at all. I am pleased with the results. I gained reviews and sales. And hopefully as more people read my free book, I will get more of both.

(Really, a free book promo only benefits an author who has other books to offer.)

Of course now my deal with Amazon is over. I have since published my novel on Smashwords and soon it will be available at more e-book retailers.

 

Recipe of the Month – Honey Peanut Butter Cookies

honey peanutbutter cookiesThis recipe is one my mom pulled from our local newspaper. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet but my mom said they were fantastic. She said they turn out slightly chewy (unlike a traditional peanut butter cookie that might be a little crumbly.) I trust her judgement that this is an awesome cookie, especially because she said she would be doubling the recipe next time as the 2 dozen cookies were quickly devoured.

Ingredients

¼ cup shortening

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup honey

½ cup sugar

1 egg

1 ¼ cups flour

¾ t. baking soda

½ t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the shortening, peanut butter, honey, sugar and egg. Stir in dry ingredients. Chill dough for about an hour.

Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place 3 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten with the tines of a fork dipped in flour, leaving a criss-cross mark. Bake until just lightly golden along the edges, 10-12 minutes.  Store in airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Looking for another great cookie recipe? Try Melt-in-Your-Mouth cookies or Potato Chip Cookies. If you still have some left over candy canes from the holidays, you also might want to try Candy Cane Crinkles.

 

A to Z Challenge Wrap Up

AIn April, I participated in the A to Z challenge where each day (except Sundays) you post a blog on a new topic following the letters of the alphabet. So April 1 was A, April 2 was B and so on.

This was my second year doing the challenge. Last year, I didn’t have a theme. This year I had a theme for the days I don’t typically blog (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday). On the other days, I stuck with my normal topics – parenting on Monday, quotes on Wednesday, and writing/publishing on Thursday. Friday is my Featured Author spot, so I actually did two posts – the typical author interview or excerpt and then also a short blog that fit the challenge letter. (Any authors interested in being on my Friday Feature, contact me through the About Me section.)

So my theme for non-regular blogging days was TV Shows. I picked out shows that I either currently watch or have watched in the past.

Now part of the challenge is to visit other blogs. (You never know when you will find a new favorite blogger.) I noticed that many people couldn’t seem to keep up with the amount of blogging. It is a lot to do to blog six days a week.

Tip: Write your posts in advance. I typically do that for my blog anyway. I am always two weeks to a month ahead of schedule. If I had to rely on posting 4 times a week without advance planning, not much would make it on my blog either.

For any of you who have missed out on my blogs from the A to Z challenge, here is a recap of what I covered.

A is for Abraham Lincoln (Quote) and Swedish Apple Pie (Recipe)

B is for Developing Character Back Story (Novel Writing)

C is for Criminal Minds (TV Show)

D is for The Dukes of Hazard (TV Show)

E is for Making Education a Priority (Parenting)

F is for Firefly (TV Show)

G is for Mahatma Gandhi (Quote)

H is for Humor in Writing (Novel Writing)

I is for It Takes a Thief (TV Show)

J is for Joss Whedon (his other TV shows besides Firefly)

K is for Keeping your Cool as a Parent (Parenting)

L is for Law & Order (TV show)

M is for Malcom X (Quote)

N is for What it takes to write a Novel (Novel Writing)

O is for Once Upon a Time (TV Show)

P is for Penny from The Big Bang Theory (TV Show)

Q is for Questions, Questions, Questions (Parenting)

R is for Ringer (TV Show)

S is for Dr. Seuss (Quote)

T is for The importance of Tension in your Novel (Novel Writing)

U is for The Universe (TV Show)

V is for Voltron: Defenders of the Universe (TV Show)

W is for Parenting Websites to check out (Parenting)

X is for  The X-Files (TV Show)

Y is for Yoda (Quote)

Z is for ZZZZ…Don’t let your reader fall asleep (Novel Writing)

Dealing with Road Rage

There are many things that I don’t understand in life and one of them is Road Rage. Oh, I am not saying I have never been annoyed by another driver or waved my hand at them as I mutter a bad word or two over their stupidity. I am talking about the serious Road Rage that leads to someone beating another person or shooting at them.

Jroad rage1ust last month I encountered my first serious incident of Road Rage. (Thankfully not the latter more serious one I just mentioned.)

It was on the day that I went on my daughter’s first-grade field trip to the zoo. After seeing her get on the bus, I left to drive and meet her class at the zoo. My mind was already on where I needed to meet them as I zipped down the road.

Now I will admit I probably was going over the speed limit. The road that the school is on is a residential street though no houses face the actual street. The posted speed limit is 30 MPH, but I would say 75% of the people exceed that. (Not that it makes it right or anything, but just so you have a feel for the area.)

I was only a block from the school when I came up behind a slower car. I slowed down. The other car slowed down even more. OK, I got it. I probably was going too fast, and the man was trying to let me know.

He slowed down more and gestured out the driver’s side window.  Now he is clearly going WAY under the speed limit, and I am right behind him. If I am tailgating him, it really wasn’t on purpose, but he kept slowing down. I was watching his car more than his waving hand so if he was flipping me off, I missed that, but I did realize he was upset.

Road Rage 0017He then stuck his hand out again and gestured to the side of the road. He steered toward the side of the road all the while waving his hand. At the time, I wasn’t sure what he wanted. I thought maybe he was trying to get me to go around him, so I sped up and passed him.

Nope. That wasn’t what he wanted. He proceeded to speed up and tailgate me. Now I only had a glance at the driver but knew he was male and larger than I am. If he really thought I was going to pull over so he could (at best) berate me on my driving, he was sorely mistaken.

I have read in the newspaper and online of people who were beaten or shot over incidents such as this. I even read of a woman who was sexually assaulted over a road incident. Now I don’t think anything would have happened in our nice suburb but heck no am I going to put myself in that type of situation.

I was never angry during this whole situation. I went from confused to nervous. The man was intimidating me by tailgating me. It made my hands shake as I tried to figure out what exactly I had done to get him so angry.

As he followed me, I considered pulling into a gas station but by this time I got to it, I guess he had realized I wasn’t stopping for him. I did call my husband and relayed what happened to him. He tried to give the guy the benefit of the doubt that maybe he was alerting me to a problem with my car. I checked it when arriving at the zoo, and it was fine.

All I can assume is the guy either thought I was tailgating him or driving too fast in the neighborhood and was angry about it. I didn’t hit his car. I didn’t pull out in front of him. In my mind, I didn’t do anything that warranted his reaction. And even if it was, is it really his job to pull me over and yell at me? I certainly don’t think so. And given that same situation, I am not pulling over. I am just glad the situation didn’t turn out to be worse than it was.

Today’s Featured Author: T.K. Chapin

Today I welcome Christian fiction author T.K. Chapin to my blog. His latest book, The Perfect Cast, was released in April.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Benjamin Chapin, but I write all my fiction under my pen name T.K. Chapin. I spent the majority of my working career inside the IT Industry but found the work to be lack luster. In fact, every job I got I would quit after a while from boredom. That was up until I started writing. Every book I write is a new adventure and I love every moment of it.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

It was a financial choice for me. Back when I was working a full time job I was scrapping by and could barely afford co-pays at the doctor’s office. I discovered Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing and it changed my life. I started with non-fiction and then eventually came to fiction.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing about being a writer is vanishing into a story and seeing it play out like a movie. The worst thing about being a writer is not having an off switch for the imagination… An example – When my wife leaves her phone in the car at the grocery store and doesn’t answer. My imagination has her lying in a ditch on the side of the road and the phone’s fifty feet away from her and she’s unable to get to it.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I have a rough idea going in of what the story is about. I need to have an ending in mind before I write. The rest I just pants.

Please tell us about your current release. 

The Perfect Cast is a Sweet Christian Romance about a soon to be High School senior that is being dropped off at her Grandpa’s house for the summer. What she thinks will be a boring summer turns out to be one that changes her life forever.

What inspired you to write this book?

Nothing really, just started writing. I get an idea and just go with it.

How did you come up with the title?

I collaborated with other authors in a writer’s group on Facebook.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Umm… I watched a cow give birth on Youtube and also spent some time researching milk replacer for the calf.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I like the Grandpa the most. He’s a deep thinker and has patience. I don’t have any dislikes.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I’d live on the farm from The Perfect Cast, that place is a modified version of a childhood farm I visited frequently.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I have read maybe five books in my life.

Book Blurb

The perfect cast“Meeting him was fate, loving him was a choice, and spending the rest of my life with him… well that was destiny.”

At the brink of adulthood Jess thought she had it all figured out, that was until her parents split and her mom whisked her away to the middle of nowhere. Her Grandpa’s farm was the last place on earth she wanted to be, and with no cell phones, internet or cable she was destined for a summer of boredom.

Man of Her Dreams
Clint Foster, the man who has everything going for him. Successful, charming and downright gorgeous; Clint’s the man she can see a future with. The only problem is her Grandpa’s farmhand Levi keeps getting in her way.

Trading in rock concerts for chicken coops and sneakers for cowboy boots; join Jess as she finds love in the unexpected places.

About the Author

tkT.K. Chapin is a Christian fiction author that enjoys writing Christian Romance and more. Dedicated to his fans, Tk brings life to his stories through storytelling in a unique way. When not writing or reading, TK enjoys spending time with his family in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

To find out more about T.K. Chapin, check out his website.

You can purchase The Perfect Cast on Amazon.