I've been of two minds over posting the following information, but a question from someone on a "Group" discussion list spurred me on. Here's a marketing ploy that seems to work. I can't just sit on the secret. You need to know HOW it works.
MY FELLOW GROUP MEMBER WROTE:
"I have been on Kindle since February and not one hit??? I am not too savvy I guess. Any suggestions?"
HERE'S MY ANSWER:
Kindle editions can be a goldmine, Don, but it takes some doing. Price is key. There are thousands of people out there who only buy free books, and thousands more who won't buy anything until it ranks in the top 100 bestsellers. Here's one method to try if you're willing to take a risk.
1. Start by listing your book on Kindle at $2.99 (tops). There has been extensive research to show that if you price your book above $2.99, customers simply won't buy it. Then go to Smashwords.com and get the book offered there as well. Publishing on Smashwords is free, and they will allow you to list your book as FREE. Do it, even though it hurts. Smashwords may not give away many copies, but they don't need to.
2. You have to get Smashwords involved, because Kindle doesn't let you make these decisions. Amazon decides when your book is offered for free, and when it comes off the free list and returns to the price you set. After a week or so of the free offer from Smashwords, the Kindle staff may catch on that they are being undersold, and at that point they will list your book as free, too. This is where it really starts to hurt. With any luck at all, you'll see your download figures jump.
3. Now, you won't be making any money, and the give away usually lasts about a week. But in that "free period" you will have built name recognition, and soared to a respectable place among the bestsellers. Kindle changes their best-seller rankings every hour, so you may reach the top and plummet to the bottom within hours. That doesn't matter.
4. Once your book returns to the $2.99 level, the sales will continue, at least for a while -- long enough for you to make some money.
5. I promise you it can work. It is happening to me right now. Here are my figures. A month ago I was selling about one book a week (in a good week). Then my book went to "free" and in seven days, there were 35,560 copies downloaded. Yes, if all those people had bought their copies for $2.99, I would have been $70,000 richer. But then, the people who ordered it for free were not about to pay for it. So I really didn't lose anything.
6. The following week, back at $2.99, I sold over 5,000 more copies. For the past two weeks, sales have settled in at 75-100 copies a day, and I'm delighted. Readers are leaving nice comments on the Amazon site, and some folks are now buying the paperback version at its $14.95 retail price. After almost a month, I've disappeared from the "top 100 Bestsellers," but the book is still listed at somewhere between # 40 and #60 on the Historical Fiction bestseller lists.
7. How much longer will the run last? I have no idea, but in the past month I've paid all the production costs of this book, and have enough in the bank to completely finance my next book, so that I can turn a profit with the very first copy. Can't ask for more!