(You can check out Part 1 right here.)
So, while overall I’m pleased with how the book launch went, there’s no question launching a book on someone else’s platform (in this case Amazon) had its challenges. Here’s a quick summary of everything that went wrong:
* The way Amazon displays a free book is, well, confusing. You see the “$0” price and then you click “buy now” so you “buy” the book for zero dollars. That’s all well and good, but there’s another button that says “get this book for free” — which is actually their lending library. So you don’t actually buy it with that button, you’re borrowing it.
The problem is, if you aren’t currently an Amazon Prime member, you can’t borrow a Kindle book. Borrowing Kindle books is an Amazon Prime perk. So if you click the button to borrow it and you aren’t in Prime, you’re put into an upsell sequence to buy Prime.
And, when that happens, I get emails telling me “thanks for the ‘free’ book but it’s not really free.”
* Adding to the already murkiness around Amazon Prime and the lending library, Amazon decided to launch it’s $9.99/month as many Kindle books as you can handle. So there was an additional upsell going on even with Prime members during my free promotion.
And, yes, I also got emails asking me what my relationship with Amazon is and why am I trying to build Amazon’s business.
* It’s very, well, curious how Amazon handles International buyers. Some people in Canada couldn’t get the book for free but others could. Same with Australia and England. I even heard from a few International readers who couldn’t buy the book when we were complete with the free campaign, and they asked if they could buy the book directly from me.
Needless to say, it was supposed to free for everyone — I don’t know why it wasn’t and I also don’t know why some people could get it and others couldn’t.
And, yes, I got emails about this.
* Now, the first three points were all problems with how Amazon had technically set up their shopping system. But one thing that came out that I found very interesting was how many people didn’t like Amazon. I got emails from people who were very upset I was sending them to Amazon for the free book and told me they wouldn’t have opted in if they knew they had to get the book from Amazon.
So, in this case, Amazon’s reputation was the problem.
Now, luckily for me this wasn’t my first rodeo. I had done the free Kindle promotion before so I had a PDF ready for everyone who couldn’t get or didn’t want the Kindle version. So for anyone who had a problem with Amazon and emailed me, I sent them the PDF.
And while I know that helped a lot, I also think I need to do something more. I’m thinking I need a FAQ or a troubleshooting page to help walk people through the common Kindle problems, with specific links to all the different countries where you can download the book.
Again, overall I think it’s worth it to have your book on Amazon because the benefits do outweigh the negative, but I also think it’s important to know what the negatives are and have a plan in place to deal with them so they don’t end up impacting YOUR reputation.
For part 3 I’ll talk about how I promoted the book using Facebook and joint venture partners.