If you’ve ever written a series, and many KDP writers do, because it can spell large profits and an even larger following of dedicated readers, then you know that Amazon has now made it easier for customers to find your series. Writers have been able to enter a series title for years, which allows you to tell people that this book is part of your new series. However, Amazon has recently improved titling and selling of a series, which will make it even easier for people to find the other books and, more importantly, buy all of the books so that they can catch up to the new installment.
Titling a Series
This section is mostly for new series writers because this feature hasn’t changed much since the update. When you enter a new book, you have the opportunity to name it. You’ll see a field that’s labeled “Series Title.” Be sure to write the series title in here. For example, if this book is part of the “Ramen Noodle Mystery Diner” series, then write that title in this field.
Do not write the book’s title here. Also, be sure to write the exact series title again when publishing the next installment. It has to be exactly the same, otherwise Amazon won’t recognize it. So, if you make it “Ramen Noodles Mystery Diner,” Amazon will consider it a different series.
Each book needs to be numbered for Amazon to put them in order. So be sure to add a “1,” “2″ or “3″ in the title field. If you don’t, then it won’t be added to the series. According to Amazon’s guidelines, which you can find here (https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A15JL56ZKVMPGJ&ref_=pe_390220_119467240_55), it says that any books without a volume number won’t be shown in the series page. While they can still be found along with other books, you’re losing out on one of the best features of this update.
The Series Page
So, how does this new title schema make it easier to sell books? The series page. Whenever someone clicks on your series’s title, they will be brought to the series page. This page lists all of the volumes in order so that readers can quickly find all of the relevant books. No longer do they have to search for the title to find your book, and possibly others that have a similar name. Not only that, but forcing authors to number their books makes it much easier for customers to know which book is which so that they can follow the proper order.
Making sales on Kindle is all about discoverability. This makes it much easier for readers to know about your series. Before this update, some readers would buy the newest installment and just read that book, not realizing that books have come before and after it. If someone likes your series, then you can almost guarantee that they will look at the other books and buy them.
Profiting From a Series
Due to this update, you don’t have to worry too much about making people aware of your series (though it’s still good to market it as a series, just to ensure that everyone’s aware). Your primary focus should now be providing a quality product that people will want to read. Series books have always done well if the product is good, just look at some of the latest series. Harry Potter, Twilight, Fifty Shades of Gray and the Percy Jackson books. Readers love the individual books, but making them a series keeps their attention and ensures a much higher money flow for the authors.
If you can get people really excited about the first book and then keep the quality going, then you’ll make some major sales. A series also tends to be easier on the writer because the characters are already established after the first book. Now you just have to keep the plot going. At the same time, remember to stress quality the whole time. Faltering even once can reduce your profit.
Amazon is always trying to make things easier for writers, and updating the series feature now makes it easier than ever to get your series discovered. You don’t even have to do any work. Just make sure that the series and volume number are correct before publishing the book. If you do that, then people will have an easy time finding all of the books in your series.
Though they only represent a small margin of the overall ebook market, enhanced ebooks have brought up considerable debate about the future of ebooks. The vast majority of ebooks are just text with a cover and maybe a sparse image here and there (maybe for chapters). While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not taking advantage of the power of tablets and ereaders. These devices have video and audio controls, yet very few books utilize them. This post will describe the what, why and how of enhanced ebooks.
What are They?
An enhanced ebook is basically what it sounds like. It’s an ebook that has been enhanced by the miracles of modern technology. Some people consider enhancements to be something as small as resizable text or the ability to link to sources. While these changes certainly add to the book’s experience, it really doesn’t fit the definition of an enhanced ebook.
At its simplest terms, an enhanced ebook is a digital book with multimedia capabilities. Images are sometimes used in regular ebooks, but they are used more often in enhanced books. These books also use audio and video files to add to the text. Some of these books are incredibly elaborate. They might include various drawings and designs that make it look like an intricate picture book with similarly intricate videos, or it can just be a book with some audio and video files.
It might be better to call them multimedia books because every enhanced ebook uses various file types to create an overall product. These are similar to books as apps, but they are often scaled down and not as advanced. This is especially true because the books have to work within the provider’s app (iBooks or Kindle), whereas a book app can be made to do anything. At the same time, they are much easier to make than a book app, and only require a small amount of HTML coding.
Why Make Them?
From an author’s standpoint, these enhancements allow you to make a better product that can help users understand your topic. For example, if you’re talking about World War II, then you can include videos from experts to enlighten readers on certain subjects. If you’re writing a book about sign language, then you can add pictures and videos to show what each symbol looks like. Or, if you’re writing an instruction manual about playing the violin, then you can add an audio file to show the reader what the song should sound like.
Now, from a marketer’s point of view, enhanced ebooks give you a technological edge above the competition. As said before, these books represent the minority. Most books only have text. Adding various files to your book can give it that leg up it needs to sell more copies. It’s already hard enough to get attention, but adding multimedia files to your book can make it a little easier by separating yourself from the pack.
How do I Make Them?
Enhanced ebooks can become very complicated if you want to add lots of images and designs, so I’ll only go over the basics so that you understand how to add various files. If you know anything about HTML, then this will seem very familiar. There are three major file types: audio, video and images. Kindle also requires fallback text in case the device can’t render the file.
Here’s some hypothetical coding for you:
<file src=”filename.extension” title=”title”>fallback</file>
Now to make sense of this. The “file” part at the very beginning and end of the coding refers to the type of file. For example, if it’s a video, then type “video” in that section. The filename.extension is the file itself. If it’s an audio file about a baby crying, then baby_crying.mp3 would be fine (note: Kindle only uses mp3 for audio and mp4 for video). The title section is the title for the file. For example, if the image is about someone playing golf, then it could be: title=”Here’s the perfect backswing!”.
Perhaps the most confusing part for new coders will be the fallback section. Sometimes the files won’t work due to lack of Internet connection, improper coding, poor rendering or other reasons. This section is displayed if the file isn’t working. You should add something like, “this device doesn’t support this video file. Please view my blog for the file.”
Just use this whenever you want to add a file to your enhanced book.
While they only represent a minority of the market, enhanced books can help you differentiate yourself from the crowd while also allowing you to really add some value to your book. Try adding a few files to your next book to see what it can do for you. It’s very easy, and Kindle will probably get better with multimedia content as time goes on.
Have you heard of book apps? They are somewhat similar to ebooks since they are digital books, but there are some major differences between the two. An ebook is downloaded and read through an app, such as Kindle or the B&N app. This is basically just a regular book in digital form. A book app is a whole app in itself. While this isn’t for everyone, there is a lot of potential here for people who want to publish more interactive books.
The biggest and more discernible difference between a book app and ebook is the level of interactivity. How much can you interact with an ebook? A book app offers a much higher level of interactivity. Readers can read book apps on their computer and tablet devices like the iPad and the Kindle Fire.
Since this is an app itself, the book has as many features as the writer wants. You can build sections that slide and twist, talk to the reader or change color. If you can program it, then you can have it in the book app. This is much like having a game app, but the major focus is text instead of gaming mechanics.
What Can I Publish?
Currently, most book apps are picture books. This makes sense since these writers and illustrators tend to want more interactivity, and because these books don’t fare very well on the traditional ebook readers. However, that doesn’t mean that every book app has to be a picture book, nor does it mean that you even need to include pictures (though a cover is a good idea). You can publish any type of book that you want, but be sure that it fits the book app mold.
There’s really no sense in uploading a regular ebook and marketing it as a book app. The sales will be disappointing and your buyers will be angry at the lack of interaction. But if it offers interaction and good writing, then there’s a lot of potential here.
This is currently a small market, which might be the best part about book apps. Unlike the ebook market which is full of millions of books, you currently have to go head-to-head against a much smaller number of app creators in the book app department. While there isn’t a lot of hard data, it’s easy to see that these apps are becoming more popular, and that people are very interested in them.
Technology has always allowed us to better interact with the world, and these apps just seem like a natural step in that direction. It’s hard to say if this market will ever overtake the ebook market, but one thing’s for sure: it has a lot of potential. If you have a story that’s more graphic or interactive in nature, you may want to consider turning it into an app.
Building a Book App
Since this is an emerging market, there are several of services that are offering programs to help people make books apps. For example, there are DemiBooks and Touchoo. If these programs don’t satisfy your needs, then you can always pay someone to program the app for you, but that’s a very expensive route.
You should also get someone to draw the backgrounds and other images. The majority of these apps have images, and you might stick out in a bad way if you don’t have any. This is completely up to you, as you can always make a book app with just text, but having something that at least looks polished will help you gain some traction in this market.
Book apps seem like the natural evolution from ebooks. While ebooks are little more than regular books in digital form, book apps give users another level of interaction. This is an emerging market, and those who enter it during these early days might find a large treasure waiting for them. At the same time, don’t force your ebook into an app if there’s no reason to do it. Do what’s best for your book or project so that it has the best chance of succeeding.
- Listing Your Book Series On Amazon: Increasing Your Book’s Visibility
- Enhanced Ebooks: The What, Why, and Hows
- Book Apps: Should You Turn Your Book Into An App?
- Use Free Content To Profit From This Hot Publishing Niche With Rabid Buyers
- Join Me For The Book Marketing Challenge and Reach New Readers Across the Globe!