Amazon Academy KDP event, EICC

I was invited along to be part of Amazon’s Academy event in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last Tuesday, 23rd May. This was mainly for small businesses but there was also a section dedicated to Kindle Direct Publishing, chaired by the head of KDP UK, Darren Hardy. I was on two of the panels during the day. Here’s how it went…

My wife and I came through the day before and spent the night at the Edinburgh Park Novotel. I highly recommend this place as it’s on the outskirts so you can avoid the city centre traffic, check-in, and use the tram/train stations right outside to get about. We had a nice dinner and a couple of drinks. I don’t recommend trying to carry a full Cosmopolitan up four floors in an elevator packed with Chinese tourists, but I made it without spilling a drop!

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The next day I was nervous, as I always am before important things like this so all I had for breakfast was half a bread roll and a yoghurt. The bacon, scrambled eggs and beans looked good, but I had no appetite. We headed for the tram and made our way towards the city, where I got off at Haymarket and my wife went further on for some shopping.

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The EICC was a really impressive sight with all the Amazon flags flying and, when I got inside, my friendly KDP contact spotted me straight away. I had no time to hang around thinking about things as she ushered me straight into the auditorium where Darren was talking people through the process of uploading your book to KDP. I got a real kick seeing myself on one of his slides!

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I hoped for a moment to compose myself, calm my nerves and so on before getting up onto the stage for the first panel but I never had a chance. Paul Teague, Harriet Smart and myself were called up straight away, handed our headsets/microphones and it was on!

That first section was all about the process of writing, with Darren asking us questions about how we worked and I have to say it was so much fun. I loved it! The thought of being on a stage in front of a crowd is always frightening – I actually threw up before one of the gigs I played when I was in a metal band – but once you’re up there doing it the nerves go away and it’s great.

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There was a short break after that but I didn’t get a chance for a coffee as some of the audience came down to chat (including novelist Margaret Skea), which suited me fine. I was asked about appearing at a couple of other things and, of course, said I’d love to. I’ll let you know if it comes to anything.

The next panel was all about marketing and by now Murray McDonald had joined us after flying up from London that morning. We talked about free promotions, Goodreads giveaways, paid ads from the likes of Bookbub, Kindle Nation Daily, Facebook etc and I actually picked up some tips myself from the other panellists so it was really good although not quite as much fun as talking about writing. I will really need to write a detailed blog post with some tips on marketing but for now, you can check out this one I did a while ago.

That was my final panel for the day and time for another break. Some more people came to chat and I was glad to get a chance to talk to Darren Hardy in a more relaxed setting again. I first met him when I appeared with KDP at the London Book Fair in 2014 and he’s a really nice guy who does a great job of running the panels.

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It was down to the main hall then as Amazon had laid on a fantastic lunch for everyone at the event – salmon, potatoes, cheesecake! I’d brought along a box filled with copies of Knight of the Cross, flyers, and Blood of the Wolf bookmarks which people could help themselves to and they were quickly gone. I hope anyone that got a free book enjoys the tale…

So that was it for me. There were more panels later on, with Linda Gillard joining the others, but I had to head off to try and avoid the rush hour traffic back along the M8 towards Glasgow and home. I was so pleased to have been a part of the event and the Amazon staff and the audience were all really lovely. Some of them even told me I was very memorable. Hopefully they meant it in a nice way!

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I want to thank the audience for being so kind and Amazon for actually having me on the panel. If you ever get a chance to do something like this, grab it with both hands, even if you think you’d be too nervous. If I can do it, anyone can!

 

PS – I found some of those photos on Twitter and I don’t know who took them. If you want credited just send me a message. Thanks for taking them!

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US Amazon giveaway

USA readers – #AmazonGiveaway for a paperback copy of Wolf’s Head (The Forest Lord 1). No Purchase Necessary: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/d6841b2d984eed4d/?ref_=tsm_4_tw_h_o_li_r

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And a worldwide giveaway on Goodreads for a signed copy of Knight of the Cross!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/231080-knight-of-the-cross

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Don’t forget, Wolf’s Head is still FREE on Kindle to US Amazon Prime members, and the entire series of Forest Lord novels are just 99p each on Amazon UK during May! The good thing is, if you buy any of them at this reduced rate, you can also get the Audible versions at a reduced rate so what are you waiting for?

The Forest Lord series - just 99p each in Amazon's Monthly Kindle Deal for May 2017!

 

Forest Lord series in Amazon’s Monthly Deals. 99p each!

The Forest Lord series - just 99p each in Amazon's Monthly Kindle Deal for May 2017!

All the Forest Lord novels are just 99p during May. Under £4 for the complete set, bargain!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01LQSSXS0
Don’t forget, Wolf’s Head is also FREE to Amazon Prime members in the USA for a time as well.

Share with your historical fiction loving friends!

12 Days of Christmas promo

Blood of the Wolf is only 99p on Kindle in Amazon UK’s 12 Days of Christmas promotion! Usual price is £2.99 so it’s a great saving if you haven’t already bought it. It’s sitting pretty at number 1 in the “Biographical Fiction” chart right now so I’m really happy in the run up to Christmas day. Thank you if you’ve bought it!

Get it here – getBook.at/BotW

One of my readers just posted this on my Facebook page about the book and it left me speechless. I had to share it!

I thought it was amazing! I really liked what you did with the story and the ending, i don’t think I’ve ever read a novel which ended on such an interesting emotional rollacoaster. I’d honestly put your series up with the likes of Sharpe and James Bond in terms of action adventure novels. In terms of what you did with the Robin Hood legend I think you did a brilliant job of pulling the story apart and rebuilding it in your own image! I think you did a good job of creating a version of the legend thats faithful to the originals in many respects but also totally unlike any I’ve come across before. Good job Sir!”

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Sorry this promotion is only in the UK just now, I don’t have any control over what markets promotions are held in. Maybe if I sell enough books, or get lots of reviews in the USA Amazon will start pushing things over there too! 😉

 

 

Blood of the Wolf now available to pre-order!

The fourth and final book in my Forest Lord series is now available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle. Paperback and Audible versions will also be ready soon.

Click HERE to go directly to your own country’s Amazon page for the book.

Publication date is October 14th!

Available to pre-order now!

The art and magick of…pricing eBooks!

Sorry, if you were looking for a definitive, comprehensive guide on how to price your ebooks I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. Because, just like art and magick, there’s no one right way to do things – it’s about experimentation and finding a balance that works for you.

So, rather than me being some guru about to tell you how to do things, I’m actually looking for input from YOU, as readers first and foremost but also from other authors who’ve tried different prices for their work.

When I first started writing my novella Knight of the Cross I planned on selling it for 99p/ $0.99. I hoped the tiny price would draw in new readers who might not take a punt on my full-length, full price novels. Unfortunately, that really hasn’t happened. In my experience readers don’t really want to buy a novella from me. By pricing it so low I also only get 35% royalty from Amazon – that amounts to just 23p for each sale. Considering I paid to have the cover art made (twice, since I wanted to update it) and hired my usual editor to work with me on it, you can imagine how many thousands of copies I’d have to sell to make back my outlay, never mind actually make a profit.

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But, despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews and that bargain low price, people just haven’t really bought KotC the way they’ve bought the other, “full-price”, books.

Today I was looking at the prices of other ebooks on Amazon and noticed that there’s loads of people selling similar stuff for £2+. Even books that are the same length or even shorter than KotC‘s 23,300 word count!

There is an argument that selling your work for 99p devalues it, and readers assume it must be crap or it wouldn’t be so cheap – and that results in few sales.

So, as a little experiment I’ve put the price of that particular novella up to $2.99 US/ £1.99 UK (also opening up Amazon’s 70% royalty rate). Or, if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle version for free, and, if you buy the Kindle version first you can add the Audible version to it for a much reduced rate. So there’s still value to be had.

My other novella, Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil is still only 99p/99c – as that’s part of the Kindle Singles Programme I get 70% royalty on that one even at the lower price. Furthermore, new readers looking for a great way to try out my work can get the completely FREE Little John short story “The Escape” just for signing up to my Email List.

Perhaps my experiment will fail miserably and the low sales of KotC will drop even further with the higher price. Time will tell.

Let me know what you think! If you’ve already read Knight of the Cross, do you think it’s still fairly priced at £1.99? And if you haven’t read it yet, would you be much less likely to buy it for that price than 99p?

And other authors – what say you? Have you found the ideal way to price your ebooks? If so – please share it with us!

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Number 1 for Rise of the Wolf!

The new book has hit number 1 in the Kindle UK Biographical/Historical fiction chart! Very pleased, thank you all for buying and extra thanks to those who have left a great review already. 🙂

I’ve ordered an extra 15 copies for giveaways and stuff so please do share the news of the book’s publication and leave a review when you’ve finished it – I will be picking names from the hat for anyone doing their bit to help me get the word out as I really do appreciate it.

robert harris