Free Book Friday / Inktober Day 8 (Watch): Looking out for #1? Right here.

Yeah, the book cover is a bit blurry in the thumbnail. I’ve updated the picture with the highest res and still…(thanks, Amazon). Looks OK on the book page.

Free books. Who doesn’t love ’em?

[murmuring]
“I do. Do you?”
“Yeah. Maybe that guy over there?”
“Maybe…”

So, if you have been following the ongoing saga of the not-so-free-perma-free poetry book, you’ll know I have had a great time chatting with the wonderful CSRs over there at Amazon. But as they say, “Fifth times the charm.”

I sent out the link on my blog and newsletter subscribers on Wednesday, and today, BINGO. #1.

Well, #1 in the free category, but #1 nevertheless. There is some correlation between the rank of the free vs. full collection, but the full collection hasn’t cracked the Top 100 yet.

Yet.

https://amazon.com/dp/B083Y6DPLY – Free Kindle version

https://amazon.com/dp/B083QPV6TQ – Not so free full collection

Well, onto Inktober and Free Book Friday:

October 8: Watch

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


Free samples: Poetry, Memoirs, and Fiction


Sci-fi available on Amazon

The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Tuesday Tirade / Inktober Day 5 (Raven): Amazon’s Algorithms

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/

It happened again. My free book on Amazon had been changed to the LPP (Lowest Possible Price) for the fifth time since I went through the process of getting it offered for free. All one has to do is to show that the book on Amazon is offered for a lower price on a competitors website. So that’s what I did.

I first published my sample book on KOBO. Is was easy:

  • Upload your file – Check
  • Select price – Free – Check
  • Publish – Check

Done.

Now to let Amazon know that people can go to a different platform instead of theirs.

[Collective gasp from Amazon executives…]

It was fine for a while, then I noticed that the price had reverted to $0.99. After emailing the CSR (Customer Service Representative) and providing the competitor’s links, it was fixed. This happened three more times in the last year without any explanation why, except the cut and paste reply:

“From time to time, we may match prices elsewhere online, including free promotions.
Unfortunately we’re not able to accommodate your request since competitors have your book over the $0,99.”

So, each time I had to email them the links to show that it was free on KOBO (.com, .ca, .uk, .in, .au, .de).

Finally, after the fifth time asking how we can avoid this continuing issue, the CSR (never the same one) told me the problem. The algorithm scans competitor prices and adjusts theirs accordingly. Apparently, Amazon’s computer program can’t tell the difference between my free sample book and the complete collection. Can you?

Maybe I should make it as my Captcha…

Now I admit, there are similarities. The cover illustration and fonts are identical, and the titles each have the exact same words with the exception of four additional words on the book on the left.

You might have noticed the bubbles on the right side are cut off on the full collection. That’s just how I made the “Excerpts” cover.

If you saw these books handed to you, which one would you take. Yeah, you’d take the one with more stuff.

So, now the book is free as it is supposed to be. Got a Kindle? Go download my free book and boost it to the top of the Best Sellers Rank in the free category. Please feel free to share the link with anyone you want.

-Leon

On a final (frontier) note: Mr. Bezos invited Mr. William Shatner to go to space in the Blue Origin rocket. It’s no Enterprise, but I’m happy for him (Shatner, not Bezos).


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Tuesday Tirade: Yet Another Aggravation Courtesy of Amazon.

Everyone likes free.

Free books bring readers into your world, and introduces them to your writing at no risk. Sure, they may have to sign-up for my newsletter—depending where they have heard of it, but that’s marketing.

The first place I published my free sample eBook was on KOBO (now Rakutan-Kobo). It was pretty easy and it allowed you to set your price to free—no questions asked.

Then I did the same for Amazon/KDP. Not as easy and the lowest you could set your price was $0.99. I did some research and found many self-publishing sites that recommend you set your Amazon prize to “Perma-free”. I thought that this was a good idea to be able to get the book into the Top 10 of certain categories (that took another line of research).

I searched: Perma-free, permafree, and permanently free on the KDP site with no luck. So, back to the other publishing sites to discover that all you have to do is notify Amazon of a lower price elsewhere and they will match it.

Done. (Wait for it.)

Nope. After several months, I just happened to notice that the book was back at $0.99. Long story short:

It’s happened four times, and each time I email I get the same cut and paste message: I’m sorry that you have been facing this issue. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We need a little time to look into the problem with technical team.

The last time I received this message: Thank you for your information on pricing. From time match prices elsewhere online, including free promotions. Unfortunately we’re not able to accommodate your request since competitors have your book over the $0,99 as shown on the picture below:

 What was the picture? My full volume. At its full price. Not the sample book…

Arrgh.

There are lots of free books on Amazon. I wonder if they have the same problem. At least it gives me something to write about.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Movin’ On Up: The Amazon Staircase

I’ve said it before – marketing is harder than writing. For indie authors it can be a full time job. Resaeching the best platforms to use, deciding where advertising money is best spent, and promoting your creations without being too pushy, or as one Goodreads group calls it “bookwhacking”

I recently updated my free poetry book on Amazon, changed my keywords using Publisher Rocket, and was finally able to make it perma-free. I posted the free status on a few platforms and after a day or so I noticed this:

#1, #4, and #5 is something I never thought I would see! It only took ~75 downloads to reach that ranking. Now, fingers crossed, some of those readers will become buyers – I think the conversion is 5-10% – and they’ll tell two friends, who will tell two friends… Free Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083Y6DPLY


Get ready for National Poetry Month and support indie authors!

Not ready to purchase yet?

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

More Free Fiascos: Perma-free on Amazon

Yeah. I used the cat again…

Have you ever tried to make your book perma-free on Amazon? I finally did a few weeks ago…or thought I did. Well, it was free. Then about a week later I just happened to be checking my pages (hint: good idea), and noticed that it was back to $0.99.

So I email them, and it gets corrected…or so I thought. Well, it was free – for a while.

So I email them again (today), and it gets corrected. I guess the note: “We retain discretion over determining our retail prices.” means: “We can change it back at anytime without telling you, so that all the readers you told about your free book are now annoyed with you. Have a nice day.”

Want the Kindle Version? Get it while it’s free. It does have a few funnies that are not in the full book:

When will the price get reset again?

  • One day- 20:1
  • One week – 10:1
  • One month- 5:1
  • Never? 100000000:1

-Leon