Saturday, July 21, 2012

Catfish Campaign, Day 21, Author Jacqueline Diamond Talks About Amazon's Select Program

To share a little background, I’ve sold 93 novels—paranormal, mystery, romantic comedy, fantasy and more—to mainstream publishers include St. Martin’s Press, William Morrow and Harlequin. For the past year and a half, I’ve been learning by trial and error to format, post and publicize some of my older books to which I’ve regained the rights. These ebooks are all published under my pen name, Jacqueline Diamond.
As for publicity, I’ve tried everything that’s free. I have a website that I maintain myself, at I guest blog, send review copies, Tweet, give interviews like this one, and take advantage of whatever other opportunities come along.
As an experiment, I decided to post one book on Amazon’s Select program. Disdvantage: the book has to be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days (which can be renewed). Advantage 1: Amazon Prime subscribers can borrow one Select book per month, and Amazon pays the author about $2. Advantage 2: You can schedule 1-5 days during the period to make the book free as a promotion, and Amazon will handle all the details.
As an experiment, I chose my former Harlequin, By Leaps and Bounds, a romance about an injured ballerina who’s teaching and aiming for a comeback. Then she begins falling in love with the policeman father of her star student. I had rewritten and updated this book before I enrolled it in the Select program.
As Kristy has indicated, I made the book free for three days. During that time, it was downloaded roughly 35,000 times from and about 3,000 times from The book made #3 on Amazon’s overall free bestseller list and #1 on the free romance bestseller list.
How did I do it? My guess is that Amazon may have featured it in one of their emails to readers. The folks at Amazon do a great job of promoting self published books (both new and reissued). Sure, I Tweeted and posted the info on loops, but that couldn’t have accounted for that many downloads. 
The results? Sales increased dramatically that month for By Leaps and Bounds, probably because the downloads bumped it up in the search engines. Sales of my other self-issued books also jumped. Especially gratifying for me was to see greater sales in the UK. Previously only my Regency romances (set in Jane Austen’s England) such as Lady in Disguise had sold there. Now my mysteries, fantasy (Shadowlight) and other books are selling too.
How do you get Amazon’s attention? Have a topnotch cover, a professional blurb and other materials, and a great book. Because I’ll bet they hire people who read! 
Would I do it again? You bet! But—no pun intended—very selectively, because I don’t want people to assume they can regularly get my books for free.
@jacquediamond (Twitter) for writing tips

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