Amazon has recently announced the launch of a new book promotional tool for KDP Select authors called Kindle Countdown Deals. I suppose they are adding this tool as a way of sweetening the pot for authors to choose to enroll their books in the KDP Select program. A program which entails publishing your book to Amazon exclusively for a period of time (no selling on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, or even your own website).
Kindle Countdown Deals does address an issue that many indie authors were having with running promotions for their books and what many authors will still have to deal with if they don’t use this tool. For example, say you want to run a promotion and offer your book which is typically $2.99 for .99 for a period of time. You’d have to log into KDP and manually change the price of your book and WAIT for Amazon to administer the change. The waiting on Amazon part is what would be a problem for some authors because you may have already announced to your community that you are running the promotion but Amazon has yet to make the change so readers cannot buy the book at the promotional price. The rule of thumb was to give Amazon at least 24 hours to change your pricing, but that wasn’t always guaranteed and a lot of promotions ran into glitches.
So Kindle Countdown Deals addresses this issue by Amazon offering their own built-in promotional program. This is how it works:
1. Set Time-Bound Promotions
You can control how long your book is discounted and the time remaining for your promotion will be visible for customers to help generate excitement for the price discount. Obviously this is going to work well because Amazon has put in place the infrastructure to make these changes work as soon as you set them.
2. Customers See Both Prices
Readers will be excited because they can see the great deal they are getting. The listing will include the regular price of your book right alongside the promotional price. When we did it manually, the reader would only see the promotional price because in essence you were changing the price of the book – not running a limited promotion.
3. Retain A 70% Royalty Rate
This is a biggie. You will earn royalties based on your regular royalty rate. So if you are using the 70% royalty rate option by pricing your book above 2.99, you will still earn 70% even if the promotional price is below $2.99.
4. Increased Discoverability
Customers can easily browse live Kindle Countdown Deals to see what books are on promotion (which you know readers love to do). This is a great way for your book to get discovered. Take a look at current deals here: http://amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals
5. Monitor Performance In Real-Time
A new KDP report will display sales and royalties at each price discount side-by-side with pre-promotion performance, so you can compare results. Love that! You know I’m a stats girl:)
So in my opinion, Amazon has created a great tool for indie authors to really build momentum for new books or to breathe some life into stalled titles. Of course the trade off is that you have to commit to the KDP Select program for at least 3 months, but seeing that Amazon is the big player in the marketplace – this may be a trade off that you can live with.
* Kindle Countdown Deals are only available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk