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 – 47

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The social web has a different flavor and feel to that of offline marketing. We might use the web to provide validation of our offline methods. Do they deliver what we thought they would?

The social landscape questions our established views of our services and, more than that, it shares the views of others whilst disregarding, in effect, ours.

People are searching for information rather than being spoon fed it by companies. They realise that the information they might receive will not be complicated by bias.

When the conversation gets down to a personal level, as on the social web, there has to be justification for actions and assertions. What is it that makes your product better than your competitor’s? How can you justify your prices and what is unique about the services you offer?

You are telling people why they should go with your business but they are also asking for more detail – a dialogue that traditional media was never able to sustain. Your potential customers are no longer interested in your promotional techniques. Just show them why they should put their faith in you and spare them the pitching.

Traditional advertising brings less participation and interaction. Blindness to these, usually biased, modalities reduces awareness of the marketing messages you are trying to convey.

You now need to think of how you can generate this awareness via the social sphere. How will you do it and with which methods? Which social media channel will be the best fit for your campaigns and which contact points with your customers will you use to generate this wholesome conversation that you are aiming for?

You are getting ready to discard the unproductive and expensive media in favour of your social interaction.

Social Media and Business – 46

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The powerful branding methods of TV and radio advertising are being offset by the humanistic interactive processes of social media conversation. Even TV and radio advertising methods are changing into more participative and entertaining events. Many forms of social media are now being integrated into traditional platforms.

Social reputation

What makes your social reputation – that which establishes you as a trustworthy member of the social set? It can sometimes be difficult to be sure but you can detect when it has happened.

Just like the popular guy at the party, social reputation depends in large part on being noticed and being a part of the activity. Even the popular guy doesn’t always do everything right or to everybody’s liking. But he is in the forefront of everybody’s visual and auditory radar and he gets known because of his presence.

Contrast that with the guy that rarely attends parties and you can see and feel the difference.

Your online party is this diverse and persistent social media world. To be the popular guy you have to be there and be seen. Not everything you do will be acceptable and recognizable to everyone that comes into contact with you. But, people just know you are there. That is a great first step and is a perquisite to becoming the regular guy.

Being there is not easily measurable. We still need ways of asking the popular guy how he knows he is well liked. Attending the party is not enough evidence, although being invited back to the same party or to an alternative one is a pretty powerful indicator.

In the social media world there are a variety of simple measurables to consider. We might look at the number of blog comments – are they increasing, are they positive, are they worthy?

You might look at your website visitors – are they increasing, do people stay longer and do they visit more pages?

We might also look at more quantitative measures – more on that later.

Social Media and Business – 45

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Building a social media campaign

Whenever you engage in a social media conversation then that interrupted conversation is already going on. As we have discussed, the conversation is continuing with or without your presence. By joining in you are effectively putting your foot in the door and saying “hey, I am here.”

If you were to interrupt the conversation what exactly would you be saying? How would you say it and how would you say it to the most people?

Companies have tried to interrupt conversations in the past and have been thwarted over the years. Interrupting people’s leisure time with TV and radio adverts has led to more and more people switching off metaphorically until scheduled programming returns.

The interruption of internet surfing by annoying popups has largely decreased due to popup blockers. We receive less (although still too much) spam email because of powerful spam filters.

The world, and the individuals within it, has become less tolerant to people thrusting things in our faces. We are more selective now.

With the development of the social web, the consumer is in charge. He or she decides on what they want to see and when. He or she will decide the form in which they wish to see things and the degree of interaction they wish to have.

People are now volunteers for the information you wish to provide. The power lies in the simple fact that he or she will choose if they do want to engage in the information you wish to share or not. You are a peripheral component to any such decision. In this case, as you are invited in, instead of being an annoyance, you are a powerful ally in the problem solving behaviour of consumers.

Paradoxically your social web presence can strengthen and validate your traditional advertising methods. We are now seeing the emergence of companies and brand names that use both modalities.

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