How to Leverage Kindle Unlimited for Marketing Your Books

Whether you’re an experienced author already racking up sales and new readership, or you’re just dipping your toes into the vast waters of the self-publishing industry, the thought of making your books available through Kindle Unlimited (KU) has no doubt crossed your mind.The real questions is, should you or shouldn’t you?Is there a clear advantage for you, the author, in using this service? Because let’s be honest, your main goals are to gain exposure for your work and make a living while doing it.With this in mind, let’s discuss how you can market your books effectively by leveraging the Kindle Unlimited platform, along with the pros and cons of using KU vs a wider distribution strategy.What is Kindle Unlimited?If you don’t already know, Kindle Unlimited is a subscription-based service offered by Amazon that allows readers (Prime and otherwise) to access their entire inventory of KU books for one low monthly fee.At under $10 a month, it’s easy to see why Kindle Unlimited has gained a reputation as the “Netflix” of books!But, wait a minute… $10 a month for unlimited access to all of their books!? If you’re wondering who makes money with this arrangement other than Amazon, you’d be in good company.Authors the world over have been scratching their heads and tip-toeing around signing up for Kindle Unlimited because they’re not sure about its long-term benefits or potential drawbacks.The Pros and Cons of Using KU vs. Using Wider DistributionThere are several pros and cons that go along with using KU vs. wider distribution options, or doing the exact opposite.Pros

It enhances the reach of your books – Amazon has at least fifty percent market share in the US and UK when it comes to digital book sales. That’s VERY significant. Their best-selling Kindle e-readers, tablets and apps, as well as Amazon’s amazing ecommerce platform and knack for turning browsers into buyers are what drive this phenomenon. And it’s increasing every year.

The bottom line? Having your books featured on Amazon increases the likelihood that they will be found and read by a lot of people.

You gain access to Amazon’s ecommerce tools – Amazon’s team is masterful at getting consumers to buy, and it’s no different when they market digital books.

Through their KU program, you gain access to unique promotional tools like their Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotion, which both help to boost your readership and launch your new titles to success.

You earn royalties for ever page read – Unlike traditional books sales where a customer buys your book and you get a one-off payment, with KU authors are paid a small royalty for every page read from each book.

Yes, you probably won’t make millions, but every penny does add up.Cons

Exclusivity of your book title with KU – You read right. If you decide to promote a book using Kindle Unlimited, you cannot promote that title anywhere else.

You’re title is bound to Amazon’s KU for 90 day spans, after which, you have the option to renew your contract.

Potentially low earnings – Unless you’re in the top percentile of book publishers in the Kindle Unlimited program, you shouldn’t expect to get hefty royalty checks.

The vast majority of self-published authors find that the potential for earnings per book are much higher on other platforms when compared to KU.There seems to be more to love about the program than there is to hate it.But is it wise to put all of your eggs in one basket and have titles exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited? Is there a point to even signing up if the chance of earning significant royalties are slim?The Answer: Yes and No, depending on your marketing strategy.How to Use KU to Sell More BooksWe already mentioned that Amazon has the lion’s share of the digital book market, but something that you may not know is that their KY customers are no ordinary readers.The average person who signs up for a subscription service like Kindle Unlimited is best described using one word: Voracious!Think about it.Who else would sign up for an unlimited supply of books each and every month? Someone who can’t get enough of the written word and who has the potential to turn into a very loyal reader, if given a good reason!Marketing experts the world over have used the “free offer” angle to hook new users into their products and services for decades. Some examples are, free samples given away at wholesale clubs, free trials of software and free content given away to get new subscribers for email lists.It’s so surprise that this strategy works amazingly well for selling eBooks too, especially if you’re newer to the game and haven’t made a name for yourself among readers.If you view Kindle Unlimited as a springboard for launching your self-publishing career it can be a real asset. The key is not to make all of your books available there, but only a few of your absolute best.And why your best work?Because, if a reader comes across one of your books you want them to be so excited, spellbound and addicted that they have no choice but to go out and buy additional titles if they want more. How’s that for encouragement?Even a single exceptionally written and presented book offered on the KU platform has the ability to move you from completely unknown to prominent among your target audience, literally overnight.But what if you’re an established self-publisher who already has a significant following?If you’re already well-known and enjoying lucrative digital books sales, Kindle Unlimited may not be an essential aspect to growing your readership (although it can’t hurt).On the other hand, by not publishing at least one title on the platform, you may be missing out on significant marketing potential (don’t worry, you can always use a pen name).Lindsay Buroker, one author earning a full-time income for her work, attributes anywhere from 85-90% of her income to utilizing the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Kindle Unlimited platforms. In contrast, her other book titles spread across seven alternative platforms collectively bring in the remaining 10-15%.In her case, the math is undeniable.But the only way to know how it would work for you is to choose some titles, register for your own Amazon KU account and see what happens.The Perils of Avoiding Wider DistributionNo matter how you feel about Amazon, the fact is that they are one of the major book distributors worldwide. While it may be a grave mistake to leave them out of your plans for marketing and distributing self-published titles, total exclusivity could be equally troublesome.While it can be very effective, as with most things, there is one caveat to using Kindle Unlimited exclusively for marketing your brand.While Amazon does have the majority of readers, you are missing out on the millions of readers on other platforms such as Apple’s iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and more.For that reason alone, it is never recommended to use any single distribution and promotion strategy. Instead, focus on using KU to promote some of your best books to gain the exposure and new readership that only Amazon can offer and put the rest of your books up for sale on any platform and in any format that will produce sales and profits for your work.While Kindle Unlimited isn’t a good fit for every author, it is worth investigating as part of a multi-strategy book marketing plan.

5 Ways to Use Email Automation to Sell More Books

For the average author, practicing the craft known as “writing” is a very intense activity.As a professional, your typical day likely involves settling into a quiet workspace with a steaming cup of your favorite brew while pondering where go next with your thought process or story development.Occasionally, you may come out of silent contemplation to type away furiously as you try to transfer your thoughts to paper as quickly as they form in your mind.If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It takes a lot of time and effort to create something you can be proud of and that people actually want to read.However the journey doesn’t end there. As grueling as producing each manuscript is, for many wordsmiths, it’s the act of selling their books that is even more exhausting an experience. Doing on and offline book tours, making titles available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook or setting up print-on-demand services like CreateSpace and Lulu can become overwhelming.Depending on your skill-set and current visibility, you can put in hours, days and weeks of focused effort that lead to little or no sales results.But, what if I told you that you could actually do less marketing work and potentially earn more money from your book sales?It’s hard to believe, but many self-published authors are doing exactly that every day. Sometimes all it takes in order to achieve incredible success is to get out of your own way.Email automation, also known as email marketing, can dramatically enhance and transform the way you sell your books and look at marketing forever.Why is Selling Books So Difficult?You’re in the business of writing and selling books so that you can earn substantially, or at the very least create a small reliable stream of income.The sad truth however, is that most self-published authors struggle to make more than a paltry sum from their efforts each year.Why is that?There are several good reasons:

Most authors aren’t marketers. Unless you’ve been to business school or taken a focused course on the subject, you probably don’t have the slightest clue about the most effective ways to attract members of your target audience who want to purchase what you have to offer.

Book promotion can be time consuming. Actively promoting your books on a daily basis can be a huge time-sucking endeavor. Keeping up with Twitter, Facebook and other platforms as well as blogging and doing book tours can end up monopolizing time better spent creating new books for your readers.

Results require consistency. When it comes to boosting your book sales it’s not enough to simply launch and then hope momentum carries your book on a wave to increasing sales. It usually doesn’t work out that way. In order to see a steady and consistent flow of sales, it helps to have a steady and consistent marketing plan.

Your reach is limited. There’s only so much you can do as one person. It’s hard to wear all of the hats necessary to create the ultimate marketing machine that takes your book from obscurity to best seller. Email marketing creates a more leveled playing field and allows you to send messages to 1 or 1,000,000 people while you sleep, enjoy a vacation or work on your next title.

You have no relationship with your audience. The fact is that the way people receive marketing messages has changed forever. It used to be that marketers would drive traffic to a specific offer and either the prospect bought or they didn’t.
Invasive and disruptive advertising is shunned more each day and people would rather receive helpful information than a sales pitch. The bottom line is that in order to sell any products today, including books, building relationships and deep connections with your target audience through attraction marketing is a must.Does all of this mean that you’re doomed to never have your book crack three or four figure earnings?Of course not!If you have ever completed a book and then put it up for sale on Amazon’s Kindle, or given it away to a group of people for reviews, you’re already on the right track. However, adding email automation to your marketing and sales plan will supercharge your efforts in a way you can’t even begin to imagine.Having a well-designed sales funnel that is built around a quality automated email marketing platform is like having your own team working tirelessly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days each year to sell your books and bring in new customers every day.The key to selling more books involves making sure that those most likely to be interested are able to notice and find out more about each title.Throwing a few books up on Amazon, while a good place to start, doesn’t cut it as far as influencing prospective buyers, building relationships and boosting sales.How to Use Email Marketing to Sell More BooksNow that you know why email marketing works so well for selling more of your book, here’s a look at five simple ways you can use automation to boost your bottom line.
Build relationships with your audience. Email marketing gives you an easy way to have regular contact with people who want to hear from you. By signing up for your list, your prospect gives you permission to contact them from time to time with relevant information they may find interesting. And that’s the keyword here – relevant. Bombarding your audience with sales pitch after sales pitch is the fastest way to have them unsubscribe and forget that you and your books ever existed. Instead, focus on enriching your prospects life by leaving them more informed, entertained or better yet, both.
Figure out what readers respond to. One very cool aspect of automated marketing is that it’s much more than a simple email sending program. Most provide you with analytic tools that let you find out important things about your audience, like which of your emails and headlines they respond to the most as well as the topics that get them riled up in contrast to the ones they could care less about. Used correctly, these tools allow you to gain incredible insight into the mind of your audience, which makes connecting with them on a deep level even easier.
Offer free samples. Few things appeal to a prospective buyer as much as a free sample, and that goes for book readers as well. Use email marketing to offer free snippets of your book to list members so they can get a taste of what the main course is like. More often than not, the free sample will get them to buy the whole book.
Request feedback and reviews. Getting reviews for a new book can be challenging. However, when you have a list filled with members of your target audience, the task becomes much less daunting. Simply offer a few copies of your book to your readers and then request that the recipients leave their honest feedback. Nothing boosts sales like lots of social proof.
Promote your books directly. Instead of waiting for readers who enjoyed one of your books to come across your subsequent titles, you can alert your list whenever you have a new book coming out. Many authors have major success with launching their books on their own websites before eventually moving on to other distribution channels like Kindle, Nook, etc.
Email automation offers the perfect tool for building an audience, deepening relationships and finding out exactly what makes you ideal customer tick. By utilizing this high ROI (return on investment) tool you position your self-publishing endeavor for tremendous success.Give it a try and watch as you transition from struggling to get a handful of sales to earning a substantial income from your book writing efforts.