Promoting Your Kindle Book with a Giveaway on Amazon

Promoting Your Kindle Book with a Giveaway on Amazon

When we published “The Great PJ Elf Chase” through CreateSpace, they encouraged us to put our book into digital form as well as paperback form, so we could sell it  electronically on Amazon. We thought that was a good idea, so we joined the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program. We have taken Amazon up on the opportunity to offer our kindle book to readers for free for a limited time. Our promotion starts today and ends on Thursday, November 20th….so grab a free kindle-version of “The Great PJ Elf Chase” for the little ones in your lives by visiting our kindle book page on Amazon!

We’re hoping this promotion will boost sales of our paperback and hardcover books, as well. Maybe it’s something you’d like to try with your own book.

Why You Should Do a Giveaway Promotion

A giveaway is a means of letting readers become familiar with the works of authors, especially unfamiliar writers. If customers like what they read, hopefully, they will go on to buy other products, such as the paperback or hardcover versions of your book…or even past and future books. If you give readers a sample of what you’ve written, they just might want more.

How It Works

If your book is enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program, you can offer it free to readers for 5 days during a 90-day enrollment period. You choose the days to run your free promotion — either one at a time or for multiple, consecutive days. If you want your promotion to begin on a given day, the latest you can set it up is the day before the promotion starts. Unused days will not roll over to the next enrollment period.

What Amazon Gets Out of It

Amazon hopes to lure people to their e-reader devices, thus increasing their own sales. They don’t make any money from the free kindle sale of your book.

How it Affects Your Amazon Sales Rank

You will not earn royalties from your promotion, but you will likely increase your sales ranking on Amazon. Their Best Seller lists are divided into the top 100 paid and the top 100 free. During your promotion, you’ll be ranked on the free bestsellers’ list. When the promotion ends, within a matter of hours, your book enters the paid best-seller ranking, and this helps to get your title out to the public.

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 12: Designing the Cover

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 12: Designing the Cover

We know front and back covers play a key role in whether or not children and their parents are attracted to books. We want the front cover of “The Great PJ Elf Chase” to be especially colorful and eye-catching. We looked at many children’s books — especially those with Christmas themes — to decide what appealed to us. We found that method to be very helpful. When we communicated with the CreateSpace design team, we pasted pictures into our notes of different elements from these book covers that we liked. This gave them a clearer idea of our vision.

We chose to duplicate two illustrations from the interior of our book to use on our front and back covers. One reason we did this was so that we wouldn’t have to pay for additional illustrations! We debated long and hard about which picture would look best on the front cover. We changed our minds a few times, but since our title includes the word “chase,” we went with a picture of our character, Ben, running.

It wasn’t easy to decide on the wording for the back cover. It has to be succinct, yet enticing. We wrote and rewrote — hopefully, our end result and the book summary will intrigue a lot of readers!

Less than a week after we submitted our design suggestions, CS sent us two cover concept options for both the front and back covers. We loved them! It was exciting to see how our book might actually look when it’s in print! We liked parts of each concept, so we opted to combine the features.

We should receive the modified cover design within the week. Hopefully, we won’t need to make any more changes and can move forward in this process.

When our book is finished, it will receive a Kirkus Review. CS assured us that if we want to include a reviewer’s quote in the future, we can add it to the back cover text at any time.
Reviews?!! If we think about that now, we’ll go crazy!!

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 11: Front Matter, Back Matter….Does It Really Matter?

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 11: Front Matter, Back Matter….Does It Really Matter?

You bet it does! We are now in the design phase of publishing. That means we’re deciding how we want our book, “The Great PJ Elf Chase,” to look in its final stage. We’re novices, so working with “front matter” and “back matter” is a new experience. We’ve certainly learned a lot in a short time. We’ll never look at a children’s picture book in the same way again!

The front matter includes any material that precedes the text. For us, this consists of an inside title page, a dedication and a separate copyright page. The end matter is material that follows the text. In order to determine what appealed to us, we looked at book after book of some of our favorite children’s authors and illustrators. We decided to put a graphic design on the opening and ending pages of the book to add visual interest. We included a page on which the child who owns the book can write his or her name. Remember how good that felt as a kid to claim a book as your very own?

We knew we wanted the text to be legible and large enough for children to read easily. We didn’t want it to blend into the background or be so small that the reader needed a magnifying glass! New Century Schoolbook font has been used in many children’s picture books, so it was our choice. Good enough for Dr. Seuss? Good enough for us. Our project manager agreed.

Next we had to make a decision as to how to the illustrations would be imaged. Did we want borders around the pictures? Did we want the illustrations to cover the entire page? Would they “bleed” into the gutter—the middle crease of the book? We opted for illustrations to take up the entire page when possible. Some of our pictures are 2-page spreads. For single-page illustrations, we asked if the design team could somehow carry over part of the picture—or even extend a fading of color— to the opposite page.

Decisions, decisions. There are a lot of them when you self-publish a children’s picture book! We’re anxious to see how our ideas translate to the pages of the book. We received the good news that our book will be finished sooner than we thought: mid October instead of the end of November. We are looking forward now to the first design mock-up—it will be a sampling of a few pages of the book to show the direction the design team is going with “The Great PJ Elf Chase.” Fingers crossed that we like it.

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 9: The Black and White Proofs

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 9: The Black and White Proofs

The black and white proofs of “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition,” were emailed to us, and we approved them quickly. The people at CreateSpace were probably shocked that we moved so quickly, since we requested so many changes on the original sketches.☺ Because our illustrator had put more detail into our sketches than apparently is customary, we saw very little difference between the sketches and the black and whites. We are now waiting anxiously for the color proofs. We should receive them on August 20th. So far, CreateSpace has delivered all illustrations promptly on the promised dates.

We asked for bright, bold colors, and we’re hoping we’re pleased with the results. If we aren’t, that will delay our book publication date. Since it’s a Christmas book, we’d really like to have it finished soon! If we make changes in the color phase, the modification process will take a minimum of 5 business days, plus one day for each illustration that we want to have modified. We get three chances to make changes in the color illustration phase. Since we have 17 illustrations, this could run into some time if we don’t like the colors. Hopefully, that won’t happen, but we want to get it right, so we’ll take as long as we need until we’re satisfied. After we approve the color illustrations, the publisher will create the final files, which they’ve told us can take up to three business days.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that our illustrations look great in color so we can move closer to publishing our first book!

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 6: Soliciting Opinions from Family, Friends and Acquaintances

Self-Publishing a Children’s Picture Book 6: Soliciting Opinions from Family, Friends and Acquaintances

Will “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition” appeal to most children? Does it flow smoothly when it’s read? Does it all make sense? We have literally changed our text hundreds of times. It seems we can’t read it through without deciding to make “just one more little change.” Our husbands have been our number one supporters and critics. They’ve read the story more times than they probably care to remember!

Judy’s boys have provided us with a kid’s point of view, and that’s been invaluable. The boys were going to bed, and Judy – who was working on the book – said, “How about a bedtime story, Boys?” Her younger son, knowing exactly what she meant, grabbed her face gently and very caringly said, “Mom, I know you’ve been working hard on this book, but I just can’t take it again tonight.” So funny! …and he no doubt summed it up for all four of them!

So, it was time to expand our critic base. Our siblings were right there beside us, getting pajamas from the elves each Christmas Eve – and they’ve passed down the tradition to their children – so we wanted their opinions and the opinions of our nieces, nephews and in-laws first. We appreciated the positive comments and the suggestions they made. We know several friends who have been published, or are in the process of writing books, so we valued their insight. Since we have many years of teaching experience between us, we know a lot of teachers and some librarians, so we asked for their opinions as well.

At first, this idea was daunting. Do we really want all of these opinions? Will it get more confusing? Although we didn’t incorporate each suggestion for one reason or another, every time we made a change, we felt the book improved. Yes, we did need to know if the flow was interrupted when the book was being read aloud to a child. We did want to know how kids reacted to the story. We did want to know if parts of the story didn’t quite make sense. We wanted to know if the pictures were as endearing to others as they were to us. We needed opinions now, before the book was finalized. After all, soon enough, those opinions will be coming from outside reviewers. (Hopefully, lots of them!!)

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