Monday, August 4, 2014

KDP-Didn't Work for Me

     Months ago, I promised to let you know if Amazon's KDP program catapulted me to fame and fortune. For those who aren't familiar with KDP, basically Amazon gets exclusive rights to your book for three months. First month, it releases only on Amazon. During the second month, your book is offered free for a week and on sale during its last month. After that, the title is distributed to all outlets. Okay, no problem the first six weeks though many of my readers use Nooks (big local Barnes and Noble presence in this area) and they had to wait or buy a paperback at the local bookstore or get it from me.
     This book happened to be A Trashy Affair, one of my best efforts. The free week approached, and I advertised the heck out it. Trashy was downloaded over 10,000 times and reached number one on the Free List and the Free Contemporary Romance List.amid some better known writers. I did get more reviews than usual, most of them positive, some odd.  My favorite complaint was that the book was not trashy enough by far. Made me laugh. Despite the title, I never do trashy..The book is about recycling on many levels. However after the free week, I had only a handful of sales and made little money on the book. Everyone who wanted it had it for free already.
     Seeing these results, I wasn't joyful when my publisher put my new Sinners football romance, Love Letter for a Sinner, into the KDP program, too. Frankly, the Sinners books are where I make the most money as they have a following. So, I didn't promote this one as hard. It got 6,000 downloads for free and did reach second place in free contemporary romance. Again, sales were depressed after that. I garnered one truly hateful review among many good ones. But, the person was coming into the series at Book Five, and it didn't make sense to her. She will never read another of my books again. Big sigh of relief from me.
     The Convent Rose, the start of the new Roses Series came up next and was again put into KDP by my publisher.  Downloads: 5,000 plus without much push from me. First review-awful and long.  I understand some people don't get my sense of humor or that my romances often aren't typical. Fine if they don't like one of my books, but I do hate when a reviewer then gives away the entire plot trying to make the story seem as ridiculous as possible-and gets it wrong in many places right down to name of the hero.My editor whose shoulder I cried upon, said not to worry. I have fans and they would enjoy the book. They did. Six favorable reviews finally popped up, but the first one anyone browsing sees is the long and ugly. Sales-not good on the whole series now.
     After that, I was given a choice whether to participate in KDP or not. I opted out. I made half what I usually do in royalties during this time (not a fortune during my best quarters), gained a few lovely new fans and collected a few trolls who always start their reviews, "I hate to write a bad review."  No, they don't. They love it. Frankly, if I read a book I hate, I don't review it all  It takes so much time and effort to write a novel and tastes are not the same. I would never tear apart another author. I also feel that people don't value what they get for free. They expect bad and so see bad. Others simply won't pay for a book with so many free out there. Sales have been sluggish ever since because I suspect some readers keep waiting for a free week on my new or reprinted books.  Ain't gonna happen anymore. Amazon may discount them. My publisher might offer them for sale, but I will not be doing free again.
     Now before I close, let me say Amazon does more for authors than any other venue. KDP just wasn't for me. Still not rich (a little broker really) and still not famous (figured that wouldn't happen anyhow). Always Yellow Roses will be coming out September 5th, the third in the Roses series, but really more of a stand alone historical romance novel. In other words, you don't have to read the other two first to enjoy this one--and I hope you do buy it--because there will be no free days.