For everyone bored by my obsession with Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Amazon’s algorithms, skip this post.
Since starting my self-publishing journey late in October 2014, my learning curve has been massive. It’s meant I’ve written less than I’d have liked, but you can’t research, strategise and test strategies, and write at the same time — unless you can clone yourself, and if you can, please tell me how in the comments!
In starting my self-publishing journey, I revised and published works I’d written previously, but never found a suitable publisher to work with on. Then I finished projects I’d abandoned for the same reason — no publisher would be likely to take a risk on them. Then, finally, I wrote specifically for KU.
The project written specifically for KU is my latest release, Kiss Me, Quick. It’s interesting for a few reasons.
Firstly, Kiss Me, Quick is a short story (32 pages, or as Amazon says, a 45 minute read). My theory, as I’ve blogged earlier, is that KU will support a renaissance for short stories. Interestingly, Jane from Dear Author, says something similar in her predictions, although she thinks the short stories will be linked. Serials, in fact.
Secondly, I went with targeting an audience, and I did this by focussing on keywords. What would readers be looking for on Amazon when they found this story? which is a different way of asking, how will they find this story? So I went with Valentine’s Day, sweet romance and first kisses. You’ll see I wasn’t subtle: Title, subtitle and blurb all support those keywords. Oh, and cowboys! And I sorted this stuff out before I wrote the story. In fact, I wrote to these objectives.
Without any paid advertising, but with Facebook and Twitter posts (not to mention BookLikes and Google Plus activity) I launched with three days of free downloads and gained over a thousand potential new readers. I also suspect, but can’t guarantee, that these free downloads register as “verified purchases” on Amazon when people leave reviews of Kiss Me, Quick there. I used teasers, like the ones scattered through this post, on most of my promo. Images are important for engagement on the internet.
So far, barely ten days after Kiss Me, Quick‘s release, it’s distinctly out-performing my other self-published books.
The lesson, to me, is obvious. Write to specific objectives that include keywords, the readers you’re trying to reach (readers of sweet romance short reads) and the means by which you’ll reach them (KU). Nothing new. Except that each time you think about these things, you become a little bit smarter at implementing them.
This doesn’t mean that I think KU is magic or that I intend to publish all my stories there or exclusive to Amazon. But it has been a brilliant way to intensively study how to self-publish — and a lot of those lessons (most of them) apply to traditional publishing.
Has anyone else published with KU? What’s your experience been?