Amazon Offers Author Advertising Option


A new option for advertising your books in the Select program.


Amazon recently announced the release of a pay-per-click advertising program for authors with books enrolled in Kindle Select. On your bookshelf, you’ll see a new option next to your Select books called, Promote and Advertise. The program, which had been rumored to be in beta months ago, is similar to other pay-per-click programs I’ve seen on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can target your advertising by product or interest. From Amazon:

Product-targeted ads appear on when shoppers browse for the products you select and similar products. Targeting by product may yield fewer impressions but more interested buyers.

Interest-targeted ads appear on to shoppers who have demonstrated an interest in the categories you select. Because you’re casting a wider net, targeting by interest may yield more impressions.

You set your bid amount, but be forewarned that your minimum budget amount is $100. This is certainly different from other systems, where you can usually set your budget to whatever amount you want, allowing you to run short, inexpensive campaigns. Strange that Amazon would do this, as it might limit the number of folks throwing their hat into the advertising ring. Which might also be a good thing.

Also, I’ve heard talk from some of the beta testers and the results are bland at best, horrible at worst, with a very poor return on investment. As with any new marketing venture, I recommend looking around for hands-on experience (try this thread in the Writer’s cafe over at There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to advertising.

I’m sure I’ll give it a shot at some point, but I’m not quite in a position to drop $100 at the moment. When I do, I’ll be sure to report the results.

Do you have experience with this new program? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Photo a Day for 1 Year – An Interview With Artist/Photographer James Cornette

Writers have National Novel Writing Month, where the challenge is to write 1667 words a day for 30 straight days. Now, imagine that challenge stretched out across an entire year! While taking photographs might seem simpler than writing a story, I bet many photographers would beg to differ. Good friend, photographer, exceptionally talented artist, and occasional book cover designer, James Cornette took that challenge in 2013 and succeeded, producing an enviable breadth of fantastic photography in the process. He recently finished putting together a motivational book aimed at those who might attempt the same feat.

Artist, photographer, graphic designer… author? You’re a modern-day renaissance man! What made you take the leap into self-publishing your book?


“Selfie” ©James Cornette

I love torture! I never fancied myself as a writer and it was never a desire. But, after looking back at the project as a whole, the “how did I actually stick to something this long?” had to be told. The amount of effort the “photo- a-day” took kind of sunk in. A few friends commented on how they didn’t know how I stuck to it for a whole year and how they could NEVER do that themselves. That was my cue.

I was actually excited to share just how I did it and what a great payoff it was personally. This idea of sharing took more shape after listening to a Dan Miller podcast about ebooks. Curiosity took over and I jumped into “figure it out” mode. It amazed me that sharing information was such a driver for me. As an artist I love to show work but I tend to get a little “guarded” on my process. I realized this was nothing more than insecurity. If I could show work AND share how, that was a win-win situation.

You and I talked throughout the process of creating this book and I love the way it turned out. It’s really great. What did you think of Kindle Direct Publishing and the path to publication?

Thanks, Scott! You were definitely a motivating factor in seeing this through. KDP…That is a tough one! I LOVE the platform and what it offers. The Help Topic section was thorough and helpful but a bit overwhelming at first. A video guide would have been a bit more reassuring.
One issue that came up right out of the gate was what format was best for my book. Initially I laid the book out in Adobe InDesign. This set me up for false expectations of how my book would look. I was in full on Graphic Designer mode and had 2 columns, dropcaps, nested images. My book was 50% text and 50% graphics so I naturally wanted certain chunks of text to be grouped with specific photographs. I gave the Kindle Pluggin for InDesign a go. FAIL! This churned out text and graphics all jammed together. The wind was sucked right out of my sails. I am sure you remember that conversation!

Regroup! Next up was Kindle Kids’ Book Creator followed by KindleGen v2.9. Kindle Kid’s Book Creator gave me the look I wanted but rendered out massive jpgs of each page. The result was a file too large and text that was fuzzy at a zoomed in view. If I were to go this route I would use Createspace instead. KindleGen never actually worked. I would get a command line popup (that scarey black box with lines of code on a PC) that would crash immediately. My ADD kicked in hard here and I left KindleGen in the dust.

I was determined to figure this out. Next up was HTML. I am no developer but have spent some years building site in HTML. There was enough guidance in the Help Topic section to get me on my way. This was the best option for me and got me the closest to the original book layout. It was not 100% but if I wanted to get this book out the door I was going to have to make some compromises. The result was live text and photos that were in the correct proximity to the text. I then zipped up the HTML, CSS, and images to upload to KDP. It was a bit tedious… upload, review, make edits to formatting, repeat. KDP has a great emulator that shows what your uploaded book looks like on multiple devices and gives you the option to view it horizontally or vertically.

So, when’s book #2 coming out?

Hehehh! I got the writing thing out of my system. I am leaving that to you professionals!

You’re a really great photographer and your art is pretty damn awesome too. Do you think the two go hand in hand?

"DoubleDutch" ©JamesCornette

“DoubleDutch” ©JamesCornette

Way to butter me up! Great question! It so difficult for me to separate the two. One skill feeds the other and vice versa. At times I believed both skills were different outlets for the same content. But that ignores the nuances of each practice. They are siblings that get along. Make sense? I don’t believe it is a requirement to be multi-disciplined but it sure helps! My art background provides me a different way of looking at and composing a photograph. Being an artist allows me to be more abstract in my approach. I use some of my art suggestions in the book. The artistic approach keeps you engaged in the process and the project. We are doing so much more than just recording an image daily or writing a blog post… we are “painting” a story, emotion, or thought.

The thing I always try to remember is an artistic bent is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that we try new things and engage in discovery. The curse is that we are easily bored and have trouble with follow-through. This is why I wrote the book… follow through.

You’re in the process of finishing up a “sketch-a-day” for a year project. Which project was more of a challenge?

HAHAHA! I am starting to twitch! The sketch-a-day is killing me! Let me start by saying that “a-day” should be pulled from the title. Let’s call it “365 sketches.” So, why am I not keeping the same pace? I get lost in my sketches. The photos were better thought out because I followed my 12 step process! I stuck to the plan. With the daily sketch I tend to make it more of an illustration than a sketch. I will finish all 365 sketches but not without some angst. The thing you will notice more readily in the daily sketches is the level of engagement in each sketch. I have some solid ones and some duds.

"Gear" ©James Cornette

“Gear” ©James Cornette

What’s the best thing to come out of this whole experience so far?

I wanted it to be personal growth. That is just a side product. The true benefit is the ability to time travel… to sit down and go through a year of photos with your family. To remember the day, the weather, the sounds, the vibe, the laughter, the pain. It all comes rushing back. To share a journey and encourage others to join in is such a great feeling!

So, photo-a day, sketch-a-day, …what’s next?

A 6-pack a day! Actually, a few friends and I were considering a weekly project. This would obviously be more a study in time management and fighting procrastination. The end goal is always the same though… growth! I know I can’t just coast.



$1.99 on Amazon. Free for Prime and Kindle Unlimited members. Great gift for that photographer in your life. 🙂

Awesome stuff. James, thanks for giving us a little insight into what went into the creation of your book. I’m sort of proud to have been able to contribute to it, as you’ve always helped me out without asking for anything in return.

Be sure to check out James Cornette’s new book on the challenge of taking a photo a day for a year. It’s informative, inspiring, and motivational on many levels. You can see James’ full collection of photographs here, his online portfolio here, and his sketch-a-day work here. I look forward to seeing and sharing more of his work in the future.

Comments or questions for James? Drop a note in the comments section and thanks for stopping by!

Amazon Sweetens the Select Deal

But are they just making the rich, richer?

If you haven’t seen this post from Amazon about the new Select All-Stars program, I suggest you head over and take a look, especially if your books are in KDP Select. Essentially, Amazon needed an additional $2.7 million (on top of the standard $2 million), just to get August’s KU/KOLL borrows payout to $1.54. They had to more than double the pot, and it still came out almost $0.50 below the average for the last two years!

In addition, they’ve installed an All-Star program for the Top 100 books and authors per month who are in the Select program. The numbers look amazing, but when it comes down to it, Amazon is simply rewarding those who are already successful. And, if these top authors are then further thrust into additional spotlight, what chance does it give to anyone else wanting to break into the top? Are they just making it better for those who already have it good?

As always, the folks over at kboards are already heatedly debating the possible issues. 😉

What do you think? Good for the author or bad for the author?

Amazon Releases Utility for Creating Illustrated Children’s Books


From Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing yesterday:

Starting today, you can use Kindle Kids’ Book Creator to create illustrated children’s books for Kindle, taking advantage of features like text pop-ups. Here’s how to get started:

1. Download the tool, and you can convert individual illustrations into interactive books for both Kindle devices and free reading apps.
2. Once your book is ready, export the file and upload it to KDP.
3. Set the book category, age range, and grade range to help customers find the right books for their kids.

Want to learn how to prepare, publish, and promote illustrated and chapter books for children? Check out the new KDP Kids for more information.

So, while folks have been publishing children’s picture books through KDP since the program began, the hurdles to getting there were significant. Now, the path should at least be a little more streamlined.

What do you think? Something you’ll use?

Amazon Adds Pre-orders for All Authors

How’s that for alliteration? If you haven’t noticed, or didn’t think to look like the rest of us, there’s a new button on your KDP Direct Reports Dashboard…



You may have to log out first and log back in, in order to see the change. At least that’s what I had to do. Here’s a path to Amazon’s description of the new feature:

And another screenshot of where you actually choose when the book will release…



These images were not so sneakily stolen from the thread over at where heated discussion has erupted as it often does with new Amazon initiatives. 😀 You can check out the conversation here.

I know I’ll be using it in the near future for my upcoming release. I’m always willing to give a new tool a shot. I’m hearing both good and bad and the thing has only been live for about three hours. We’ll see how it all pans out though.

OMG… the BookBub Gods Have Finally Smiled Upon Me

So, yeah… BookBub. If you haven’t heard of them, then you’re more than likely not a self-published author. If you have, then you know that running an ad with them can often be a marketing and financial boon. I might have set the record for submitting my book (Multiples of Six by Andy Rane) to them… and getting rejected every time. Well, apparently, they just never wanted me to make money off of it. Every time I submitted, I would offer to lower the price of my novel to $0.99. I submitted to them well over 15 times, perhaps 20. Each and every time, I got the standard rejection letter. So, when my next opportunity came to submit, I broke down and submitted the book as a freebie. And now I’m in. My scheduled day is September 2nd.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time Multiples has been free. It’s just the first time in a very long time. You see, back in the day, when the KDP Select  program was in its infancy, going free could be miraculous. My first free day was in February of 2012. I gave away 6700 copies in a single day (thanks to being picked up by Pixel of Ink and Ereader News Today). The next day, the book went back to being $2.99 and sold another 450 paid copies over the next month. It was awesome. A few months later, I ran another promo. This time, I gave away another 9000 copies, but the post-free bump was less than half of what it had been a few months before. Amazon had changed their algorithm. A free sale was no longer equivalent to a paid sale. I ran my last free promotion for that book during the summer of 2012. I gave away another 2500 copies, but saw no post-free bump at all.

I’ll admit, I really didn’t want to go free with that book again.  But, now I’m looking forward to it. I only have one other book in that series and maybe it’ll help generate sales and reviews for both.

If you’re looking to promote your book, take a good look at the options. BookBub can be a tough nut to crack into, but the results are well documented. Be sure to check out some of the other sites listed above as well.

Have you had success with BookBub or other marketing sites? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Kindle Unlimited is live!

Check out the new Kindle Unlimited. Readers get unlimited books for $9.99 a month from a pool of qualified books (639,674 books as of this writing). Authors whose books are enrolled in KDP’s Select program are automatically enrolled. Royalties will work as they do with the Global Fund for borrows, so long as the reader gets past the 10% mark of your book. In fact, it’s all coming out of the same pool.

Not sure yet what to think, but it sounds like this might be a good discovery tool for the first book in a series, but have negative affects on folks with books priced much more than $2.99. I have two books in Select at the moment and I wasseriously debating pulling them. Now, I’m not so sure. I might keep them in for another 90 days just to see what happens. Thoughts and comments welcome!

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited for $9.99/month