Kindle Experiment: Using free book giveaway days

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In a previous post I mentioned a collaborative effort that I am involved in. Briefly, a group of 10 of us are pooling our expertise and resources to develop and promote a series of self-help Kindle books. The project itself is not only fun but an excellent illustration of how to focus on one thing – after all, you are reliant on others just as they are reliant on you. The effort has many dimensions and it would not be my intention to discuss or reveal them all in this post but I wanted to take a bit of time to mention one – free Kindle giveaway days.

Our 11 books are on the Kindle platform, I consider myself a semi-expert on Kindle now but to my shame I had never published via Kindle until this latest project (I say to my shame because in all other respects I am a longstanding and prolific writer). Kindle is still relatively new and growing and people like the portability of their electronic reading devices – coupled, in no small way, by the fact that you can get 10,000 books onto a device smaller and lighter than the average paperback.

Being a Kindle publisher opens new concepts to the average author. For example, people can borrow your Kindle books just like they can borrow conventional works in a local library. People can buy and be reading a book on Kindle within seconds. And they can easily “return” and get refunds for books they don’t care for. Added to this is the Amazon functionality of user ratings, user reviews, “look insides”, free chapters etc. all of which make the book buying (and authoring) experience unique and exciting.

There is one other feature worth mentioning – “free” days. By enrolling into the free “KDP Select” scheme, an author can allow their book to be available free of charge for up to 5 days in any 90 day period. That has to be novel and ground breaking. But why would an author wish his or her book to be available free?

There are several reasons:

  • Get noticed as an author: being a new author can be dificult sometimes – credibility and exposure takes a while to gain momentum
  • Getting your book exposed: your book can be set alongside major publications on free days
  • Encouraging others to read your stuff: getting your work into the hands of readers can brand your writing content and style
  • Encouraging ratings: those reading your book can rate it on a 5 star rating scale
  • Encouraging reviews: readers can place a review on your sales page for others to read
  • Getting onto free sites: by running a free promotion you can take the opportunity of exposing yourself on blogs, forums and book sites, many of which will advertise your free offer without charge – great for gaining more exposure, credibility and reviews.

(In a future blog post, depending on energy and demand, I may share with you a collection of places ripe and ready to feature your books on).

Publishing on the Kindle platform opens up doors that were never known to exist for many authors. Taking advantage of the free promotional days can, with a little extra work, be profitable and, yes, exciting.

My book “Easy Steps to Organization” is available free on the Kindle platform on December 3rd and 4th. You can check it out HERE and see the other titles and the Warrior Guides website

 

Project Group Power – Actionable Sharing

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We use the term “teamwork” lightly these days. I can’t remember how many resumes I have read which have stated how the candidate values the concept of teamwork and works well as part of “a team”. Hell, I have even used this concept loosely myself. As I write this I am a little over 24 hours away from meeting a great group of people who are all interested in joint venture partnership. I have to present how I, myself, have worked as part of a team. I wonder if the following account would have any value?

I am currently in the middle of working with another fantastic group of people in developing and promoting a series of self-help guides which are already published on the Amazon Kindle platform. The whole concept started shortly after I joined a private forum group led by Brian Kumar in which, subsequently, a good acquaintance, Dr Mani, headed the Kindle experiment.

15 of us showed interest and were accepted into the project and 10 of us continue to thrive and survive. Our mission was to produce a series of self-help guides under a branded umbrella (the Warrior Guides series). We each chose an area of interest and expertise and set to work writing on Kindle books – a learning curve for many of us even at that stage.

We recognised not only the huge power in numbers together with the beauty in teamwork but also the value that we each give to various parts the project. One of us leads by example, one of us has skills in design. One member knows the intricacies of website programming and one has the credibility and vision to glue the whole process together. I, for my part, deliver the ability to focus and work towards deadlines in lieu of intelligence or technological wizardry.

The result? 11 self-help guides written by individuals as part of a series and uploaded, ready for sale, on the Amazon Kindle platform. Add to this a perfectly designed and executed website collating the efforts of us all together with a high-class professionally produced video on YouTube and I hope you can get a glimpse of the relative enormity of what we were trying to achieve.

The teamwork doesn’t end there. Oh no. Doctor Mani has already developed, written and distributed an agreed marketing plan to us all whereupon we will each take responsibilities and roles in different areas to help the marketing concept of the series as a whole. Article marketing, link developing, social media exposure and a whole host of other interactions will, in time we hope, promote the branding of our series and lead to a healthy and satisfying income.

We have the belief, as yet unproven, that the skills and efforts of us all will multiply the value of the project. Whether we succeed or not is dependent upon a number of factors other than teamwork itself. But I believe we have developed a blueprint of action that is repeatable and transferable to other projects.

Could each individual achieve the same name without the power of the team? I expect so, but experience has shown me in the past that the work required by the individual far surpasses the momentum generated by the team. Furthermore, by working together we developed a common aim and vision which allowed us to focus on our individual responsibilities whilst at the same time trying, where possible, to avoid letting other members of the team down.

The project itself is one of reasonable magnitude. Could any individual develop each and every part themselves? Could the sole worker maintain an overall bird’s-eye view? Could a single person maintain the focus needed to succeed at each stage? I’m certain that the answer is “no” to each of these questions but even so the effort needed for the lone worker is too much.I have come to learn that things always take longer than expected. With individual members of the team working to their strengths we have speed, accuracy and dependability on our side.

Using just speed as an example, how long do you think it would take you to accomplish the following: writing 11 books, formatting the books, designing 11 covers, loading each onto the Amazon Kindle platform,developing a marketing plan, developing a prominent video, listing the books on various Kindle websites, developing an advertising program,arranging for individual reviews of the 11 books, developing a central web hub, collating and evaluating results?

So, thinking back to my initial question regarding the presentation I am to give at my forthcoming joint venture workshop, would my Warrior Guides project serve as useful proof to the power and value of teamwork? I will let you be the judge of that but the answer for me is a resounding “yes”. Has the project itself proved value? Financially, we are still in the early stages of marketing and promotion. But I have already met nine other wonderful people that have proven themselves to have definite skills in a wide range of areas and who have the ability to collaborate in a positive way on a complex project.

You can check out our amazing video here:

and you can find out more about the project by visiting the Warrior Guides website. My own book in this series is Easy Steps to Organization

Social Media and Business – 50

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Social Platforms

The first and most recognisable of social platforms are networking websites such as Facebook.com. Facebook has more than 750 million active users and is a huge interactive environment of people from all walks of life, ages and interests.

There are other similar platforms such as MySpace (www.myspace.com – over 19.7 million active users) with a common theme, that is, people can create a space that is their own but which is dynamically interactive with other people which they accept as their friends.

These friends live vicariously in each other’s lives.
They share often private and discreet moments as well as the moments of excitement and joy. To a certain extent, it is even more intimate than the chat you have with the popular guy at the party.

At a party you will eventually leave until the next function. With these social networking platforms life goes on 24 hours a day. You learn to share the highs and lows of many of these people mixed, inevitably, with a large helping of trivia.

Social platforms extend further than Facebook and MySpace on which the public view recognizable and utilisable facilities. The popular social networking platform LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is a place where businesses and entities tend to communicate and fraternise.

And then you have the White Label groups which have been specifically designed by companies in order to connect a group of like minded people ready to discuss and share experiences in a specific niche.

We have already mentioned wikis. Wikis are a social platform where users generate much of the content. Although, typically, the majority of the content is decided upon and generated by an individual or a company, the end users can edit it as necessary. The end result is often a conglomeration of views and experiences which, surprisingly, mirrors real life.

The underlying characteristic of all these platforms is that they are not maintained or fed by one single group or entity. Both customers and businesses interact to create an amalgamated whole.

The picture is one of a conversation rather than a statement. Along the way there is a struggle for mutual benefit. If both parties can win, then any outcome will include satisfied customers and increased profits (or other important measurable parameters).

It is relevant here to mention something about the advertising methods and promotional activities on social platforms.

If you look at Facebook you will see a number of advertisements and banners. These are paid advertisements and do not represent what we are talking about here. They more closely represent the type of offline advertising that this book has been downplaying. Traditional marketing methods such as this, although they may have a place to play in social media, are not our focus.

What is our focus, however, is the type of integrated promotional activities that the social networking sites can carry. Here, think applications. An application is a piece of software which can be added to a social networking platform in order to engage the visitor in some specific way or other.

This might be in the form of the game, a quiz or any other form of interactive process but which at the same time can promote a brand, product or service. These can be entertaining, novel and sometimes addicting. And there are many thousands of applications such as this which can be individually characterised and branded for businesses and companies.

These applications provide a way for businesses to develop interaction with customers. Think of the applications (often called “apps”) that you see on the iPhone and iPad.

Whilst these third party social platforms provide a facility for potential interaction between businesses and their potential clients they, only form part of the possible social experience. For companies with the budget and time, there is the possibility of developing White Label sites.

These have a lot of the functionality and characteristics of third party social media sites but can be specifically organized and developed to fit in with the aims and objectives of the particular business running it.

Social Media and Business – 49

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As time goes on you will be looking for more parameters that might signify a greater involvement with your brands. Some will see a greater volume of conversations whilst others may detect videos, audios and images concerning your products being distributed and shared more and more. Is the vibe about you and your products positive or negative? If the former, enhance it, if the latter, reverse it.

The flavor of the conversations that your customers will be having will vary, partly dependent upon their experiences. Many of them will have questions. They may wish to know how to use or enhance the use of a product you have provided. They may wish to have a problem related to a product sorted out.

If it is a potential customer then they may have a range of queries that they need attending to before they will commit to a purchase.

In all of these situations, and with all of the questions, you should be there to provide the answers. Your evangelists will help you without you even asking but there is no substitute for you being aware.

Channels

There are important decisions for you to make. You are already aware that there are not only a multitude of social media websites and facilities available but that there is a huge range of modalities available too. Which one(s) to choose?

You need to make some good decisions lest you waste precious time and valuable resources. It can get expensive if not done correctly. Simply ploughing in without proper thought is ineffectual and doomed to failure. In order to progress further we need to think more about the social platforms themselves.

Social Media and Business – 48

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You will need to start the measurement process to develop the awareness of your social media productivity. Luckily, there are solid and robust ways to accomplish this. Used wisely, you should be able to develop methods that will help you decide the demographics of your audience (who is actually interacting and what their characteristics are).

You should be able to determine what is happening over a period of time (whether the audience is connecting more). You should be able to determine a change in the depth and quality of the conversations and interactions that are being had (whether the engagement is at a more specialised level rather than generic chat).

Finally you should be able to detect a softening of any free floating resistance to your products, services or company stance (showing your involvement creates trust and positivity).

You are looking for all manner of statistics. Who is interacting with what you are sharing and what exactly is being read, listened to and watched? What are these people saying about you and how interactive are they with you? How sticky are these people – will they stay with you?

There are certain things that you would be wise to at least consider. After all, social media demands that you are seen (remember the popular guy at the party?). Your products and services may already be being used by consumers but now is the time to rack up the degree of exposure.

Product Pulse (www.productpulse.com) allows you to add your product to a large database of other products whilst users give it the thumbs up or thumbs down. The social media world is not only vast but fast. Messages spread quickly and adding additional exposure will only enhance this process. Product Pulse recognizes this feature of the web and begins to take full advantage of it.

Your ultimate aim is to get people talking about you and your products more – and you know what that means in the social media environment.

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