From Zero to 109,000 in 12 Months: Romance Author Succeeds Using Amazon's KDP Select

One year after self-publishing her first three books in the "Escape to New Zealand" series, Rosalind James has sold over 109,000 books—and earned over $178,000. The secret? Amazon’s KDP Select program for indie publishers.

Online PR News – 29-August-2013 – Berkeley, CA – When she self-published her first three contemporary romances exactly one year ago, Rosalind James dreamed of making enough money in the first four months to pay off her $1,400 investment in a website and book covers.

It took less than two weeks.

“I wasn’t expecting much,” James says. Amazon reports that, with over a million books available for the Kindle, only about 1,000 authors sell over 1,000 ebooks per month. But to her surprise, James's first three-day free book offer, a bare one week into her publishing career, netted 14,500 downloads of her debut novel, "Just This Once," and resulted in sales of 2,000 books in her first month.

Which was all thrilling enough. But in January 2013, another free offer on the same book shot the title to #1 for over three days in Amazon’s Free Kindle Store, with downloads topping out at over 92,000 in a five-day period. James had 20,000 sales that month, and has spent most of the time since in the exalted ranks of Amazon’s top 100 romance authors. In her first year of publishing, James has sold over 109,000 books, and earned over $178,000.

How did she achieve those numbers? James, who like that other James has a marketing background, explains. “Titling my first series “Escape to New Zealand” helped--because I think every woman would like to Escape to New Zealand! And I had an attractive book cover, which is what the customer sees once you get on the Top 100 lists, paid or free.”

“But most of all,” James says, “I have to credit the KDP Select program. I was initially a bit hesitant about making the books exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. But as a marketer, I know that for a completely unknown brand, anonymity is the enemy. It’s all about brand exposure. I was able to get my “brand”—my name and my series—in front of 14,500 people immediately, at no cost. No, I didn’t make money on those downloads. But I had two other books in the series. I guessed that some percentage of readers would go on to buy the second and third books.” And they have gone on to buy. As James notes, “You can’t buy that kind of exposure.”

James’s advice to other authors looking to self-publish? “Hire a book cover designer so your book looks professional. Get help writing your blurb. And above all, make sure your book is edited. Then take advantage of those free days and get your book out there. Making money is great. But sharing the world you’ve created with that many readers? Priceless.”

About Rosalind James: Rosalind James is the author of six romance novels in the "Escape to New Zealand" and "Kincaids" series, and is hard at work now on her seventh book. She has a marketing and editorial background, and recently spent several years living in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.

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