Saturday, November 22, 2014

Curiosity Killed The Cat: The Kindle Daily Deal Selection Process

I've been asked several times, "How did you get selected for the Kindle Daily Deal?" So, I thought a blog post would be the most efficient way to share the answer.

The short answer is easy. "I don't know." I must have won a lottery of some sort. I do have some speculation, which I'll share later, but here's how it went down.

The Initial Notification

In September, I received a letter from Amazon asking me to agree to participate in a special they would run sometime before the end of the year. I had to agree to allow them to mark my book down up to 85%. They didn't say exactly what the promotion was, or when it would happen, or even if it would happen for sure. They also warned me that I couldn't place my book on sale a certain number of days before, or after. So naturally, without a date from them, that meant I couldn't put my book on sale at all. 

The Agonizing Wait

And naturally, being completely at the mercy of their massive promotional machinery, I said, "YES!!!!!!" Then I checked my email, and checked my email, check, check, check . . . You get the point. I was on verge of despair as it had been well over 90 days since my last Kindle Countdown Promotion and my numbers were dropping. Alright, it wasn't really despair, but I was less than pleased about the whole "submit and don't ask questions" thing.

And then, glory of glories, I got the response! It's really a blur at this point. I was, perhaps, in a bit of shock that it actually happened. I'm going to copy the dry content of their messages below for authors who are really interested.

So how did I get picked?

I didn't sign up and they didn't tell me why they picked me. But here are a few key factors that I suspect were involved.
  • For the previous two months, my rank had been floating between 2500 - 5000 on its own, without promotion. If I were Amazon, I wouldn't give this coveted spot out unless there was proof the book was well performing to start with. After all, why promote a book that won't sell?
  • My rating is 4.7 stars and most of my 153 reviews contain explicit requests for the next book. If I were Amazon I wouldn't want to promote a book that was getting bad reviews. So the better the rating the better the chance, I'd think.
  • My book cover looks fabulous! Thank you Ravven for the gorgeous art! And, my heroine is fully clothed. I am certainly no prude, but if I were Amazon I would want great book art on my site and I wouldn't want to send mass emails out with half-clothed people on the cover, out of respect for the variety of tastes of customers.
  • My price is $4.99. I don't think they list lower priced books in Kindle Daily Deal often. This makes sense to me because people wouldn't feel they were getting a great deal otherwise. Plus, they wouldn't make much profit.
I call this intelligent speculation, but it is just speculation.

What do you think?

Lilo

(See dry emails below at your own risk.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The First Contact

Hello!

I work with the Kindle Direct Publishing team and from time to time we reach out to our authors and publishers about participating in certain types of promotions.

We are considering including your books

The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare Series Book 1) (B00HYH3ZU4)

in an upcoming promotion in some or all of the WW Amazon Kindle Book Stores. We would offer the books at a discount we determine off of your book’s list price for a period of up to approximately one month. Your list price won’t change, so that customers see your list price and the discount.

If your books are included, your royalty will be calculated based on our discounted price (not your list price), up to a discount of 85% off of your book’s list price. For example, if we sell your book at $1.99, where the 70% royalty option applies, your royalty will be calculated as 70% x ($1.99 – delivery costs and taxes). To be included in this promotion, your book must have a list price between $2.99 and $9.99.

The promotion will begin on a date we determine, which we anticipate to be at some point between October 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.

Here are some other terms:

Not all books made available will be included, so we can’t guarantee yours will be, and we may discontinue the promotion at any time.

You must keep your book in the Kindle Store for at least 90 days after the promotion ends; you can’t un-publish it or terminate your participation in KDP during that period.

Due to system latencies, the exact start and end times of promotions are approximate and can take from a few minutes to several hours, but in some cases this period may be longer.

If you agree to participate, this email and the KDP Terms and Conditions will be the entire binding agreement between you and Amazon Digital Services, Inc. with regard to the promotion.

Except as provided in this email, the KDP Terms and Conditions apply to your book and this promotion.

If you represent a Publisher other than yourself, by agreeing to participate you also confirm that you are authorized to agree on behalf of the Publisher.

The list price you provide us with for titles submitted for this promotion must remain the same for the 30 days preceding the start of the promotion, during the promotion and for at least 7 days following the promotion. This means that titles included in Kindle Countdown Deals or Free Promotions in the 30 days preceding the start of the promotion will be ineligible for inclusion. Please also note that you will not be able to schedule a new Kindle Countdown Deal until at least 30 days after the end of the promotion. Any Kindle Countdown Deals scheduled during the promotion or during the 30 days following the end of the promotion will be cancelled and you may not be notified.

If you would like to participate in this promotion and agree to the terms above, please respond to this email stating: “I would like to participate and I agree to these terms.” 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Second Contact (You must really be a dedicated author if you are still reading!)

Hello!

I’m reaching out to let you know that, barring any unforeseen changes, The Light Who Shines is scheduled to run as a Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon.com on 11/20.

It will be discounted to 1.99 for that day.

Thanks! 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And now you know as much as I do! You have been "Illuminated!"

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