SFFMP 92: How to Use KDP Select to Sell More Books with Susan Kaye Quinn

We got a lot of great information from today’s return guest, science-fiction and paranormal romance author, Susan Kaye Quinn. In addition to writing genre fiction, she’s penned For Love or Money, a book that talks about the ongoing debate on whether to write to the market, to write your passion, or to try and find the spot where the two areas mesh.

Since Susan has been doing a number of experiments with Amazon’s KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited promotions lately, we focused on that during the show, trying to find the information that would help authors work KU to their advantage and do better with the promotions available to those in the program.

Here are a few specifics we covered:

  • Being wide (in all the stores) and having a permafree title versus being in KDP Select with a 99-cent title
  • How to have a successful free run while in KDP Select and why “getting the attention of borrowers” matters more than anything else
  • How borrowers are almost like an entirely different store with their own eco-system
  • What to do if you’ve been wide and are bringing older titles into KDP Select
  • What some of the problems might be if your books just aren’t selling as well as you wish
  • Figuring out if a book or genre is a good match for KDP Select
  • Whether pre-orders are a good idea when you’re in KDP Select and you’re relying on borrows (which can’t roll in until the book is live)
  • Dealing with readers who might be upset if you switch from being in all the stores to being exclusive with Amazon
  • Figuring out whether you should give KDP Select a try based on how well you’re doing in other stores
  • Whether you should save up books and launch them in a cluster or try to stagger them to release over time
  • Places to advertise KDP Select titles

Stop by Susan’s site, check out her books on Amazon, and sign up for her popular For Love or Money group on Facebook. Lindsay is there as are many other indie authors.

Also check out Susan’s previous appearance on the show if you haven’t already: Episode 36.

 

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12 comments

  • Thanks everyone. Susan is a marvelous guest. She and Chris Fox should write a book together. Just masses of useful, actionable ideas and information. You can tell she was/is a scientist at the outset.

    I have only one question, and it’s a question for Lindsay: is that one heck of a long dog behind you, or is that two dogs spread out? It surely looks like one veerrrry long dog!

    🙂

  • Thanks for the great show. Susan convinced me to go KU with my new series.
    The problem is I already have the first book in this series wide. So, Susan or anyone else, what’s the best strategy to pull from wide and go into KU with a new series?

    I’m working on the second and third book in the series, with hopes to release them in October and December. So, should I pull the first book now and put it in KU, to build momentum for the release of the second and third?

    What has been your experience?

    Thanks,

    Ethan

    • Hey Ethan! If you’re planning on KU for the future, you might as well get started on attracting those borrowers. I’ve even seen a few people use free runs with only one book in their catalogue to good effect with KU.

      Good luck!

  • So a more serious question, perhaps for Susan – or anyone.

    I’ve been following the advice of Chris Fox and Susan here and preparing a series for KU in a hungry niche I think I could enjoy writing in. I have everything figured out: the tropes, story types, cover art, length, etc. and have planned six books which i will “save up” and publish simultaneously. But…

    … I have noticed that every single one of the books in that niche that sell really well have a female author name on the cover. I’d be perfectly happy to publish these books under my own name, but do you think I’d be shooting myself in the foot? Should I adopt a pen name? I wouldn’t want to screw up on just one thing like that.

    What do people think? Thanks!

    • SFFpodcast

      Just my two cents, but I don’t think the sex of the author matters as much as people think. Maaaaybe in romance. I wouldn’t think it would be a big deal for SF&F.

      • Thanks Lindsay – two cents from you must be worth someone else’s couple of dollars at least. I’m really grateful to you for answering.

        All the books in this genre have female leads and there is an element of romance but it’s always a subplot, not the main thing. The main thing is kick-ass demon slaying (and overcoming personal demons in order to win out in the end). So maybe I should just slap my own weird name on them and not worry about it.

        Why do you think it doesn’t matter so much? I mean, is that just a hunch or do you have some experience with this thing?

  • Hi Austin:
    I have the same concern, probably unfounded, since if the book cover and description is great, readers may not care if the author is a woman or a man. In any case, my romantic suspense series is coming out as E. Jones, not too far from the truth 🙂
    Blessings,
    E

    • Hi Ethan,

      Thanks for that. Yes, I’m not so sure. I think I might go with the pen name on the cover and state on the copyright page that “such-and-such a name is the pen name of the writer Austin Hackney.” Then maybe, if the books take off, redo the covers at a later stage with my real name on. A pen name is one thing, but I want to avoid seeming to have created a whole fake persona.

  • This was a great and thought provoking episode. Definitely a lot of things here to consider for your own strategy.

  • What a great podcast! Fantastic information!

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