A reader asked an interesting question: “When you write fiction for KDP, is it different from writing fiction for print?” (KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing. And by “for print” she meant for traditional publishing, via a literary agent and publisher, etc.)
It made me think, and realize that yes indeed, there are differences, and those differences are important if you want to sell books. (Let’s call Kindle ebooks “books”, for simplicity. That’s what they are, and today, a “book” is likely to be an ebook, a print book, an audio book etc.)
Let’s look at five tips to help you to write successful Kindle books. These tips work for nonfiction, as well as fiction.
1. Kindle books are focused, and SHORT: focus when you write
Before Amazon launched Kindle, markets for short stories were pretty much non-existent. Kindle readers changed that. Today, if you write fiction, and aren’t writing short stories, you’re missing a good market.
You can reach that market via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. It’s had big effect on self-publishers: it can help you to build your brand as an author. You do this by creating shorter books, specifically for KU.
If you’re writing fiction, write short stories, or shorter works if you’re writing nonfiction.
2. Write in series: you need visibility on the Kindle Store
Series novels, and serials, sell well. Readers enjoy them, and if they enjoy one book in your series, you can sell more books in that series.
Series also increase your visibility; this applies to nonfiction, as well as fiction.
3. Publish FAST: get an idea, and write it, don’t dither (someone will beat you to it)
Today, you don’t need to shop proposals around to publishers. You just write your book. Once you have an idea you think will sell, write a short story, or a short non-fiction book. If the book sells, capitalize on your idea by writing more stories, or more books on your topic.
4. Think readers: meta data helps your books to be found
“Meta” data is data about your book. It’s the title, the description, and the keywords you use to lead readers to your book. Few authors pay enough attention to their meta data.
We talked about meta data in this post, Indie Publishing: When You Publish And No One Cares:
Once you get readers to your book’s page, give them something to read — reasons to buy your book. Amazon gives you 4000 characters (around 800 words). Use them.
Not only do those 800 words lift your chances of being found on Amazon, Amazon does you a big favor. It assesses your description, and gives your book more categories. (Once your book’s been up for a week or two, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what categories Amazon’s chosen.)
Pay attention to the meta data when you upload your books — it’s vital.
5. Bake in promotion: front matter, back matter, and your website
Every book you publish helps you to sell other books you’ve published. Use the front matter, and back matter of your book for promotion.
In the front matter, just after your copyright notice, invite readers to your website, so that they can join your mailing list. In the back matter, add Amazon links to other books you’ve published. That’s painless promotion. It costs you nothing at all, and no further effort.
Use these five tips — they’ll help you to sell more books. They might give you ideas for more books you can write, too.
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