Kindle Publishing: Your Guide to Getting Responsive Traffic with Kindle

Kindle Publishing: Your Guide to Getting Responsive Traffic with Kindle

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kindle publishingSince Amazon introduced the Kindle back in 2007, it’s been training their readers to use it.

You don’t actually need to have a Kindle device to read Kindle books and related services.

You can download a free app to read in the cloud or via your smartphone. If you love your tablet device, that’s cool, because there is a Kindle app for those too.

Since I installed the app on my Galaxy Note 10.1 last November, I’ve read nearly 480 Kindle books on multitude of subjects.

Yes, that’s right, those of us that have Kindles (apps or devices) are readers.

They take their devices everywhere with them. I know when I have a spare ten minutes or am hanging around waiting for something I can read a book…

From Kindle Reader to Kindle Publisher

I’m not just a Kindle reader, I’m a publisher too.

I have about 9 Kindle books for sale in the Kindle store (I try to add 2 a month) and it’s from these books I earn the majority of my affiliate marketing income and I’ll move onto that later down the post.

You’re a smart marketer.

You’re reading Traffic Generation Cafe posts, you implement all of Ana’s advice and you know that Amazon is a buyer’s marketplace and you should be leveraging that – but how?

This post will help you connect the dots between Kindle publishing, Blogging, and Marketing.

Kindle publishing Minigraphic

I’m going to start with a tough premise. I’ll apologise in advance.

Not everyone consumes content in the same way.

Not every person that finds your blog has a reader or likes their email inbox filled with marketing messages (aka great newsletters).

Some people prefer to use Control D to bookmark rather than Delicio.us or StumbleUpon.

I like to call them “internet civilians”, but they are not civilians, they have smart work flows just as we do…

These internet civilians are not like us: constantly checking our smartphones, checking our email and keeping on top of our niches / blog posts or content promotion activities.

These people fire up their computers when they need to know something.

Sure you know why you need to be on the page one of the search engines, but the internet civilian is different.

You see, she knows she has a problem, she knows what it is, and she knows where to look: Amazon. The chances are she has a Kindle device or app and she knows how to use it.

If you are a smart marketer (and we’ve already established that you are as you’re here reading this right now), then you’re already publishing in Amazon Kindle stores.

You know that someone is searching for a problem that you can solve and you know that Amazon is a quick route to market and the way to establish your expertise is to have a book under your belt.

If you didn’t know that .. you do now. You need to get a book up and into the Kindle store fast.

From Your Blog to Kindle Publishing

If you blog on a regular basis, creating an ebook or beginners guide from your existing content is quick and easy.

You can use a free WordPress plugin called Anthologize to export part of your book into a Word document, if you use WordPress (we’ll talk more about it in a little bit.)

If you use something else, well you’ll have to copy and paste your content from your site into a Word document.

Amazon gives you some amazing tools to market your Kindle book – the ability to enroll in their KDP program and give away your book for free – these aspect enables many new readers to sample your work and go on to subscribe to your newsletter and purchase through your affiliate links as well as to click through and read / view content that you’ve linked to.

However, you cannot enroll in the KDP program if your work is freely available on the web. Your Kindle book needs to be unique.

Giving away your book increases your visibility in Amazon’s marketplace.

I’ve had several Amazon best sellers (for a couple of days) and, as I become more adept at using Amazon’s marketing system, my books are staying at the top of the charts for longer.

How to Create Kindle Book

So let’s look at this practically: you already have the content for your Kindle book; it’s right there on your blog.

Step 1: Gather your posts

If you blog using WordPress, this is a fast process for you:

  1. Install the Anthologize plugin
  2. Export your blog posts into a Word Document.
  3. Edit the book.
  4. Add an introductory section about your experience and talk about the content and what problems it solves.
  5. Add the things that Amazon require like the clickable Table of Contents, Acknowledgements, Copyright etc.
  6. Then expand on your content.
  7. Add the “about the author” section
  8. Proofread.

Note from Ana: I’ve tried to use Anthologize at Traffic Generation Café in the past, and could never make it work for me – it was always buggy. As an alternative, you can use a service like Zinepal, even though it costs $5 per ebook to format it any way you want to (I don’t think their free version is a good choice).

If you leave room for conversation in your blog posts, you can readily expand the content and take it in new directions, again solving the problems that your reader has.

Once you have your book, the next steps are to get it up onto Kindle and for that you need a book cover.

Step 2: Create a cover

Yes, people still judge a book by its cover.

However, there’s a nifty piece of software that will help you create great looking, simple ebook covers – My Ecover Maker.

It has a free version and a subscription version.

I use the paid version and I love it. You can create a great looking book cover in a matter of minutes.

Amazon requires that the book cover that you upload is huge in size, at least 1000px along its longest edge. Using My Ecover Maker makes the whole process fast and easy.

You’re almost done now – all you have to do is format your book for Kindle and upload it to Amazon.

Step 3: Format the book

The formatting part is a pain the backside – but it’s okay.

I have the Kindle Guide that will show you the tools and how to use them. I recommend you grab the book because the formatting part is a minefield.

Last year I uploaded a Kindle guide that was screwed.

You see Amazon released the Kindle Fire and I wasn’t ready for it. I also used software from a company that came highly recommended, but was still beta testing. The company didn’t say they were still in beta and I’ve been editing the images on 389 pages ever since… the moral of the story: find people who publish Kindle books often and see what they use (if you don’t wish to spend 99 cents on my guide).

Kindle Pricing

99 cents for a guide?

Yes. Kindle books can be used to build your email list and blog subscribers.

By pricing low you remove the element of risk. Some readers think that because a book is that cheap, it doesn’t contain useful information, but it’s not true in most cases.

Many of my books are priced much lower than I would like, but they generate subscribers and leads. I’ve opted not to worry about the money, and focus on building the relationships with my new readers and subscribers.

But how do you get subscribers from your Kindle book?

Kindle to Newsletter Subscriber

Straight after the Table of Content (TOC) add a call to action to subscribe to a newsletter with a free gift related to the book’s content.

For instance, in my Zero to Social Media book I offer templates for social media marketing strategies and campaigns.

When you upload the book to Kindle, you have’ll the option to show 10% on the book to people looking to buy. They will see your call to action and have a chance to subscribe. Without buying your book. Cheeky, eh.

Yes, you can use Amazon Kindle to build your newsletter. You can even build a separate email list and see how effective this is as a marketing tool.

Kindle Publishing for Affiliate Marketing

As I mentioned before, the majority of my affiliate income comes via my Kindle guides.

I sell the books at a low price and I already know the purchasers have a specific problem, so at the end of the books I add a list of resources, some free and some with affiliate links.

I’m not one for overloading the affiliate links in my Kindle guides – I’m looking to demonstrate expertise and build a relationship with my new readers.

The key to using Kindle for affiliate revenue is to have good content that solves problems and provides resources and upsells.

Chances are you already have that kind of content on your blog.

Kindle Reviews

It’s 2013 and American readers still think British English is a book filled with typos… you couldn’t make it up.

No matter how you describe your book, someone will not read the description and grouse about it.

I’ve even had a bad review based on the fact the book was on Kindle and not a physical book.

I always try and manage the readers expectations – my Kindle guides are basic guides unless the description said otherwise; if they are about software I say that too.

If your screenshots are too “clean”, people will think (and say) you’ve stolen them.

If they are a little less professional (have URLs, etc to show they are not stolen), they moan about them… if you are sensitive by nature, you’ll cry when you get a review that’s a little off.

But people who are not biased and objective are rare creatures.

I’ve written 3 books with another author. Aside from their bio, they’ve not contributed a word to the book… and everyone loves those books, not a bad / half-hearted review to be seen.

I have no idea what’s†in the†mind of an Amazon reviewer, but they are rarely consistent.

But when you get a great review, it will make your heart sing, and you’ll feel great.

The Send to Kindle Button

We’ve seen the power of the Amazon marketplace, we’ve seen why we need Kindle books, but what about the Send to Kindle button? How does that work for marketers?

The Send to Kindle button enables marketers to be carried around with their ideal reader and to be recalled at a moments notice.

Your offline word of mouth will increase and I’m†predicting†your affiliate revenue will increase too.

If your reader can send a really useful article to their Kindle and share it (which is something for the future), then you have another route to market. As the post is sent to Kindle, your affiliate links go with it, along with the link to your blog and the post – it’s going to send back traffic to your site for the foreseeable future.

Kindle Blog Subscription

Bottom line: by utilizing these Kindle marketing strategies, you’re going to be at the front of your readers mind for a long time. Isn’t that every marketer’s dream?

If you use an RSS footer plugin (part of WordPress SEO by Yoast), you can even invite your readers to subscribe to your blog via the Kindle Marketplace.

You do have your blog available as a Kindle subscription, right? No? Oh dear…

Yes, Kindle Blog Subscription is another route to market. The reader pays a small subscription fee (around 99 cents) and all your posts are sent directly to their Kindle – they can read at their own convenience and your content is on their Kindle.

It might not generate you a fortune to have your blog as you only get a small percentage of the sales, but your content is being consumed in the format most suitable to your reader.

Kindle Publishing Marketing Takeaway

Although we have no idea how many Kindles have been sold, the estimates say there are around 3.5 million devices used plus the apps (making 10 million in total).

Is that marketplace big enough for you?

What’s more, it’s virtually untapped.

Will use be using Kindle to market your blog as well as send you a tonne of traffic?

Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow is a blog-centric social media marketer. One of the UK’s most influential marketers, Sage business expert and the creator of the†internationally†renowned Birds on the Blog, and of course raving Kindle fan (even though she doesn’t own one).

Kindle Publishing Resources

orange checkAmazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing – Amazon.com

orange checkHow to Make Money with Amazon Kindle Books – Steve Scott at SteveScottSite.com

orange check72 Places to promote your Kindle Book – Sarah Arrow at SarkeMedia.com

orange checkPublishing On Kindle For ProfitPawel Reszka at AffHelper.com

orange checkPublish Your Book on Kindle – Cathy Presland’s Kindle course

orange checkKinstant Formatter – best and easiest way to format your Kindle books

orange checkMy Ecover Maker – make your own ecovers

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49 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Thanks for the great tips and resources Sarah… a Kindle Ebook has been on my todo list for a while. My concern is actually getting it in front of people through Amazon. Any tips on making sure people find the Ebook, keyword research for Amazon or anything like that?

    Thanks,
    Craig

  2. Peter

    Good news Anna, but with the error of improved search engine performance, do we really need that?

  3. Great article Sarah!

    I’ve published a few books already and will definitely try out some of these ideas. I had considered adding affiliate links to the books but wasn’t sure if it would bring in much revenue. Now I will.

    I struggle at getting reviews for my works. I do promote the books a lot during their free promo period. As I write under a pseudonym I don’t want to promote them on any of my websites. I’ve joined the world literary cafe and goodreads but not sure where else to turn to… Any ideas?

    • Hi Erin
      For some the reviews are a tough nut to crack. Some people recommend review circles, others recommend forming a tribe. I’ve found putting the book up on a one day promo and then adding it to Snick’s list will get me a couple of reviews. The best thing to do (in my opinion) is to form a Facebook group of previous readers to discuss the book. Then when you have a new one coming out, give it to them free for one day and then invite them for reviews.

      In the past I’ve offered webinars to reviewers and other incentives, I’ve since heard than Amazon frowns on this :(

      Good luck!

  4. Thanks Sarah…I appreciate your post. I am moving in the direction of kindle publishing and your post gives me confidence and clear guidance how to source create and publish and market my books. Am looking fwd to implementing your tips. Thx

  5. kindle publishing can have a great scope in the upcoming time. As more and more users are using smart devices, whether in the form of mobile phones, or tablets. Thus, they need to have some smartness in their reading material also!

  6. A very great post Sarah,
    Kindle publishing is really one of the business model that is giving a lot bloggers money. I already have many of my friends that are into kindle publishing and are doing so well there.

    The truth is that i also plan on being a kindle publisher but, have never started because of time.

    Now, i think i will have to start planning on what to do about it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Valentine, it’s not as time consuming as you may think. Expanding and refreshing your existing content and giving it a new lease of life means you probably have the bones of the Kindle book already. Good luck :)

  7. Hi Sarah,
    Welcome to TGC. You’ve indeed written a very thought provoken article here about kindle publishing.

    I started loving Kindle publishing business when Matt Wolfe started his Kindle publishing case study last year. I really loved the idea to the extent that i wanted to write a kindle book then but, i was unable to start it because of the day to day distractions out there.

    But, this book of yours has really reminded me about it again. Now, what is really the work of Anthologize? Is it just to extract your posts to a word document or, does it has another function?

    Now, what i don’t really understand is how to assemble the book, how to determine how many pages your book will be on kindle while writing on a word document.

    Also, the formatting is another thing that use to scare the hell out of me.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Theodore, that’s exactly what I use Anthologize for – to extract the posts into Word. You may upload a Word Doc to Kindle or a PDF. The second time I tried a PDF I lost all of my images. Now I use Kinstant Formatter.

      The great thing about Kindle is your book length doesn’t really matter. I have books of 400 pages that don’t do as well as books with just 50 pages.

      If you think what you have is too much for one book, then create a series. If you think you don’t have enough to make a good book think about adding interviews with people in that niche to make valuable to the reader. But more importantly don’t sit on that book! Get it out there, you’ll never know how well it will do until you publish it

  8. Great tips Sarah, you’ve certainly given me a few new ideas for my Kindle books.

    I put a couple of my existing ebooks on Kindle but did find it difficult to promote them well enough. I already had them online so was unable to use the KDP Select program. I do get sales but I know I could get more.

    Every time I read something like this I get all keen to promote them more again but it’s so time consuming.

    I found a ebook cover designer on fiverr who created some great covers for me. Much better than I could create with any freee tool. I also outsourced the formatting very cheaply to a guy on oDesk. Saved me a whole lot of time and effort.

    I exchanged reviews with other members of a Facebook Group but have heard that Amazon do not approve of these types of reviews now.

    Sandy

    • It can be tough to get reviews, I usually ask my newsletter subscribers to do them. I put the guide on free promo for a day and invite my subscribers to download it as it’s free and if they like it them a review would be appreciated. We all like “something for nothing” I get valuable feedback and the subscribers get something before the general public do. They also know I send a lot of traffic to my book pages so reviews are good exposure for them. I’ve heard that Amazon tracks where the reviews come from so if your reviews are all coming from Facebook without downloading or buying the book it would seen suspicious.

      • Ana Hoffman

        Another great idea, Sarah – give away the book to subscribers and ask for reviews in return.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Great idea about using Fiverr, Sandy; I use them all the time for different projects.

  9. Thanks for the great info Sarah and Ana. While I use the Send to Kindle plugin for my blog (thanks to Sarah), I can’t add my blog to Kindle since the country options are USA and UK at present.
    However, the idea to publish e-books is awesome – thanks for the leads to the tools to do this easily.
    You both rock! ♥

    • Corrinne, I’d love to see the Everyday Gyaan in book form :) and I bet your readers would love it too. Let’s hope Amazon get their act together and allow other countries to submit their blogs soon.

    • Ana Hoffman

      By the way, did you see that I mentioned you in one of my weekly marketing skinnies – thanks for embedding my Google Reader Slideshare presentation!

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are very welcome, Cathy; would love to pick your brain when I am ready to dive into Kindle publishing!

  10. And read my blog. It’s jam packed with self-publishing gold. Don’t know how you guys missed this missed it here :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Just didn’t have a chance to comb through your site yet, Ivin. Do you have any particular epic posts about Kindle publishing you can forward to me?

  11. Cheryl Moses

    This was a great post, and right on time. I just finished the content for my first Kindle and now I’m working on my next one. I’ll definitely put this information to good use. Thanks so much ;)

  12. Awesome article Sarah – as ever:)

    As one of your co-authors I know how hard you work, not to mention how knowledgeable you are re the world of Kindle publishing.

    Still cant’ believe you don’t have a kindle though lol :-D

    • Thanks Lilach, it’s always a pleasure to write with you, not only do we have so much fun writing and editing, it’s a joy to watch the books sell well. Can’t wait for the next one.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

  13. I see this is one for bookmarking – no way will I take in this cornucopia of information that I should know about nowadays in just one sitting!

    Thanks, Sarah :-)

  14. Using Kindle has been something that I have been thinking about for a while, but I haven’t done anything with it yet.

    You mentioned that you using Kindle could drive traffic to your website.

    That sounds like it may be hard to track. Do you have an data that could support it?

  15. Thank you for a very useful article, Sarah :-) I’ve recently installed the Send to Kindle plugin and it’ll be interesting to see what impact it has. Next step: turn those drafts ebooks into Kindle books. And you make it sound very straightforward so I have no excuses!

    • No excuses at all. I’ve been waiting for your ebook for three years… if you don’t hurry up I may write it myself ;)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Angela

  16. I am very happy to read this. This is the kind of info that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best post.

  17. FABULOUS post, Sarah! I’m going to clip it to Evernote to make sure I don’t lose it. Of course, as you know, I’m in the throes of trying to create my first Kindle book . . . this will be super-helpful!

  18. Sarah –

    interesting article. couple questions:

    have you revealed any of your books elsewhere (i.e. your blog)?

    curious, are the royalties received from book sales on a stand alone basis bigger than any one of your other revenue streams that result from the leads/affiliate links within the books?

    • Hi Sunil
      Yes I’ve blogged about my books, there are links to them on my site and aside from KDP I don’t do very much promotion at all. The royalties from a book can be as much as 70% of the cover price. On an average month the royalties give me $100, the affiliate revenue is a lot more.

      • Ana Hoffman

        Wow, that’s pretty good, Sarah! I hope the numbers will encourage more of my readers (and me too!) to try Kindle publishing.

  19. I got this feeling I have someway to go before I graduate from elementary when it comes to WP and Kindle etc- but this article has popped my brain in a good way…thanks Sarah – I am off to download the plugin and send to Kindle button -

  20. I have a couple of short kindle books but I always thought that putting a link in the front meant that you were losing a buyer. It didn’t occur to me that you could gain a subscriber, who could eventually turn into a buyer, and a multiple buyer at that.

    Thanks for pointing that one out.

    I have just published my first short fiction story for kindle. Being from the UK, I have stated that this short is written in British English. Hope that deters people from pointing out errors.

    Kindel buyers are usually content as long as it is clear what they are getting for their 99 cents or $2.99. My little story is around 4,000 words so this has also been written in the blurb as I know many reviews have been scathing about lack of pages. lol.

    Great post – many thanks Sarah/Ana

    • Hi Victoria thanks for that tip – I will add it to my descriptions over the next few weeks, a bit like a disclaimer “These books are written in British English” :)
      Good luck with your shirt :)

  21. Sarah,

    Awesome, awesome, awesome article.

    You write EXACTLY like Ana. I totally thought it was her.

    Thanks for the amazing insights.

    Cheers :)