Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Over Two-Thirds of Our Kindle Nation Sponsors Climb into the Top 3,000 Overall, and Sponsorships Are Available

By Steve Windwalker, editor of indieKindle and Kindle Nation

The peak annual period for shopping in the Kindle Store begins at around 5 pm Eastern on December 24 and continues for the next two weeks, and as it approaches we've been payng close attention to the results that Kindle Nation Daily sponsors have been getting in their efforts to connect with more Kindle readers. Our December 2010 Kindle Nation Sponsorship Results spreadsheet is available for all to see and has now been updated through December 20. Here are some of the benchmarks:
  • 14 out of 55 sponsoring titles overall have climbed into the top 1,000 in Kindle Store sales rankings
  • 29 out of 55 sponsoring titles overall have climbed into the top 2,000 in Kindle Store sales rankings
  • 37 out of 55 sponsoring titles overall have climbed into the top 3,000 in Kindle Store sales rankings, including
  • 8 out of 8 Free Kindle Nation Shorts sponsors/excerpts
  • 18 out of 21 daily Free Book Alert sponsoring titles
  • Among titles priced at $3.79 and up, 4 out of 9 have climbed into the top 5,000
  • Among titles priced at $0.99, 15 out of 17 have climbed into the top 2,100
  • Among titles priced at $1.99, 2 out of 2 have climbed into the top 1,500
  • Among titles priced at $2.99, 18 out of 29 have climbed into the top 3,000
Finally, 10 out of 18 of our newer and less expensive Ebook of the Day sponsoring titles have climbed into the top 10,000, but we're working to strengthen the presentation on this and we see progress: 3 of the last 4 have climbed into the top 5,000, 2 of them into the top 2,000.

I personally don't believe much in advertising, but I do believe in connecting, and I see these sponsorships as a way of connecting with readers who are engaged and responsive.

What might an author or publisher get from sponsoring Kindle Nation, other than a warm fuzzy feeling for helping a hard-working guy like me?

There's never a guarantee of success, and definitions of success can vary widely among authors and publishers. But if you have written or published a book of real distinction and you want to increase exposure and connect with more readers, we work hard to help you in that effort. We have over 10,000 regular readers between our several platforms, and we often refer to Kindle Nation readers as the greatest readers in the world. If I had to describe their reading habits, I couldn't do it, but I can tell you that as readers they are prolific, savvy, price-conscious, ecumenical with respect to genre, and they don't care for trashy books, trashy covers (even though I do), and trashy reviews (I know, because I've written a few!).

I hope that helps.

Currently there is availability in early March for daily Free Book Alert sponsorships and Free Kindle Nation Shorts excerpt sponsorships, and in January for eBook of the Day sponsorships. We continue to offer a Silver package that knocks $10 off the price of a combo of the daily Free Book Alert sponsorship and the Free Kindle Nation Shorts excerpt sponsorship. See our sponsorship info page for more information and sign-up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In New Attack on Author Productivity, Amazon Announces Free Offering of Neilsen BookScan Data

Some indieKindle readers may be under the impression that Amazon is doing good things for authors and indie publishers these days, but I dunno.

The bookseller, er, ebook trailblazer, er, global behemoth, er, multi-platform international publishing company announced a new venture this morning that is likely to reduce total creative productivity among American authors by 60 to 75 per cent during the next year.

What evil has Amazon wrought?

The company announced today that "authors who use Amazon’s Author Central service (http://authorcentral.amazon.com) can now view Nielsen BookScan’s weekly geographic sales data for their print books for free."

The sordid story of author suffering in the grip of ASRS (Amazon Sales Ranking Syndrome) has, of course, been chronicled with increasing frequency on the web and was the subject of documentary coverage here at indieKindle just last week. It has been known to affect entire families and even certain neighborhoods such as Park Slope and Studio City, and now -- it appears -- the syndrome is showing an amazing resiliency and ability to fight back against antibodies, antidotes, and 12-steppers.

Prior to Amazon's launch of the Kindle in November 2007, it was widely believed that there was, roughly speaking, a 50:50 ratio between the time that professional authors spent writing and the time they spent checking their Amazon Sales Rankings. Post-Kindle, the ratio, at least in the U.S., has exceeded 2:1 in favor of time sapped from writing by ASRS. 

Amazon's "free" offering of Neilsen BookScan data to individual authors will, in all likelihood, be the final tipping point for ASRS, after which few new books, if any, will ever be finished.

Amazon's news release follows:

Weekly Nielsen BookScan Data for Print Book Sales Now Available for Free to Authors in Amazon’s Author Central Service

For the first time, authors can track their books’ weekly print sales, including geographical distribution, as recorded by Nielsen BookScan (widely regarded as the best source for industry print book sales)

Author Central also launches tracking of historical Amazon bestsellers rank for each of an author’s books

SEATTLE–Dec. 9, 2010 –Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that authors who use Amazon’s Author Central service can now view Nielsen BookScan’s weekly geographic sales data for their print books for free.  Author Central is a free service provided by Amazon that helps authors promote their books and reach more readers. Also announced today, Author Central has added a feature that shows authors past history on the Amazon bestsellers rank for their books.
“Authors are an important community for us,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon. “We’re really happy to make it easy and free for them to see geographical BookScan data updated weekly, as well as historical Amazon bestsellers rank, for their books.  We hope this creates an improved feedback loop for authors and enables them to develop more effective methods for reaching the widest possible audience.”

For the first time anywhere, authors can access timely geographic sales trends aggregated across retailers by Nielsen BookScan, widely regarded as the best source for industry print book sales.  The new “Sales by Geography” feature displays a map of the continental United States, highlighting the areas where copies of authors’ books have been sold. The new “Sales by Week” feature displays a bar chart of an author’s sales recorded over the trailing four weeks. Authors can also see how many copies of each title were sold by print-edition type, e.g. hardcover or paperback. Digital book sales are not included in BookScan data.  Nielsen BookScan estimates that it tracks 75 percent of print trade books sold in the United States, collected at more than 10,000 online and offline locations.

“I love the new sales information features on Author Central, especially the interactive sales map,” said Sarah Mlynowski, author of “Gimme a Call.” “Seeing retail sales by city allows me to effectively target my offline and online promotional efforts—and track their impact.”

The new Amazon Bestsellers Rank History enables authors to see their bestseller rank over time, without needing to frequently refresh their books’ pages on Amazon.com.

“Authors hate to admit it, but checking our Amazon bestsellers rank can become nearly addictive,” said Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of “A Scattered Life.” “Author Central has made it easier for me to track my rankings over time. This feature, along with others on Amazon Central, saves me time which is better used for writing.”

In addition to these new features, authors who use Author Central have the opportunity to share the most up-to-date information about themselves and their work with readers. Authors can view and edit their bibliography, add a photo and biography to a personal profile, upload missing book cover images, add video, information about speaking events, and use a blog to connect with readers. Authors only need a book listed in Amazon’s catalog to be eligible to join Author Central. The Author Central service is also available in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

Authors can learn more about Author Central and these new features at http://authorcentral.amazon.com.