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May 2013
Volume 26

In This Issue

How to Write an Effective Book Description
KDP Select May Fund Announcement
Self-Service Cover Design Tool
Q & A on Amazon's Customer Review Policies
KDP Upcoming Events
Your Voice: KDP Author Stephanie Bond
Featured KDP Books

Merchandising Tip

How to Write an Effective Book Description

One of the most crucial elements to selling a book can also be one of the most difficult to create. The book description is your lead in, your chance to hook a reader and get them to crack the cover and satisfy their curiosity. Even in an online environment, the book description can bridge the gap between having just another title among a sea of choices and a sellable book worth reading. Read more about how to write an effective book description, courtesy of CreateSpace.

KDP Select News

May Fund Announcement

You can earn more money and reach more readers by enrolling your titles in KDP Select. Once enrolled, you will earn a share of the global fund amount every time your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library on,, and

For May, the KDP Select Global Fund amount is $1 million. In the month of April, KDP Select-enrolled authors earned $2.27 each time their books were borrowed.

Visit your Bookshelf to enroll your books in KDP Select or if you are already enrolled visit your royalty report to see your results. If you'd like to learn more visit KDP Select or the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Tip of the Month

Self-Service Cover Design Tool

Want to create a cover for your book? Try our Cover Creator tool currently in beta to quickly create a high-quality cover design for your book.
Read more

Cover Creator is not available for KDP Japan.

Featured Resource

Q & A on Amazon's Customer Review Policies

Lately there has been some confusion around the guidelines Amazon uses to evaluate Customer Reviews. Customer Reviews are meant to give customers genuine product feedback from fellow shoppers. Our goal is to capture all the energy and enthusiasm (both favorable and critical) that customers have about a product while avoiding use of reviews designed to advertise, promote, or mislead customers. Below are answers to some common questions we receive on Customer Reviews. For more detailed information please visit the Customer Review Guidelines.

Q. Are authors allowed to review another author's book?
A. Yes. We very much welcome Customer Reviews from authors. However, if the author reviewing the book has a personal relationship with the author of the book they are reviewing, or was involved in the book's creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.), that author is not eligible to write a Customer Review for that book.

Q. Can I write a Customer Review of my own book?
A. No. You are not eligible to review your own book, but there are other ways to communicate with your readers on Amazon such as Author Central.

Q. Can I post a Customer Review on behalf of someone else?
A. No. Customer Reviews are meant to provide customers with feedback from fellow shoppers. For this reason, you should use the Editorial Reviews section of your book's detail page to share content that is posted on other sites or from individuals who do not have an Amazon account. You can update the Editorial Reviews section of your book's detail page through your Author Central account.

Q. Can I ask my family to write a Customer Review for my book?
A. We do not allow individuals who share a household with the author or close friends to write Customer Reviews for that author's book. Customer Reviews are meant to provide unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers.

Q. Can I pay for someone to write a Customer Review for my book?
A. No. We do not allow any form of compensation for a Customer Review other than a free copy of the book provided upfront. If you offer a free copy of the book in advance, it must be clear that you welcome all feedback, both positive and negative.

Q. A Customer Review is missing from my book's detail page. What happened?
A. Reviews are removed from Amazon for one of three reasons:

  1. The review did not meet our posted Customer Review Guidelines.
  2. The customer who wrote the review removed it.
  3. We discovered that multiple items were linked together on our website incorrectly. Reviews that were posted on those pages were removed when the items were separated on the site.

We can only discuss specific Customer Review removals with the person who originally posted the review.

Getting Customer Reviews for your book can be a key component to your success. Take the time to understand Amazon's customer review guidelines and author tools to assure you are maximizing the opportunity. You can find the full FAQ on Customer Reviews Guidelines here.

KDP Upcoming Events

BookExpo America
Meet KDP representatives at Booth DZ1757 during BookExpo America and the author-focused day uPublishU, May 30-June 1. Follow what's happening at the show on Facebook and Twitter (use hashtag #AuthorLove!).

Your Voice

KDP Author Stephanie Bond

<ember Spotlight

Stephanie Bond, author of the Two Guys Detective Agency shares her experiences with KDP.

I'm what has been termed in the industry as a "hybrid" self-published author, meaning I was traditionally published first, then migrated into self-publishing. Why? Because although I'm grateful for the experience and the readership that writing for traditional houses gave me, I was constantly frustrated by the lack of marketing or the inaccurate positioning of my books. But the biggest problem I had/have with traditional publishing is the protracted production schedule; when a writer has to deliver a manuscript a year to eighteen months prior to its release, he/she can't respond to reader and market demands. For example, my traditional publisher didn't want to extend a series because the initial print run hadn't sold as well as they'd hoped, so they switched me to a different project, which I had to accept to maintain a revenue stream. Fast forward a year and the original series had started to snowball, but the publisher had already "moved on" and didn't want to continue the series, leaving my readers very unhappy. And I get those emails, not the publisher!

Over the years, I'd quietly collected the rights back to about a dozen of my romance and mystery novels as they fell out of print, not sure what I'd do with them, but inherently knowing they were safer in my hands. In 2011, my then-publisher ended yet another series of mine, and I was facing another reset. A good writing friend suggested I dust off those reverted rights books, update them, and put them out on my own. Because I thought those books were some of my best (writers know which of our books are better than others!) and since I didn't have anything to lose, I dove into self-publishing and clunked my way through my first project.

My sales were slow in the beginning, but after a couple of months, things started to pick up enough that I realized I could actually pay my bills with self-publishing. And then another writer friend shared her great experience with the KDP Select program. Coming from the traditional side of the business, I was reluctant to make my books exclusive to one retail source, but I'm so glad I did! Offering my books for free to avid Kindle readers expanded my readership by leaps and sales exploded. I've had several titles in the Kindle Top 100 paid list, and I've sold over 200,000 copies of two titles; one of them, STOP THE WEDDING!, is a romantic comedy my publisher turned down three times. My book OUR HUSBAND, which a former print publisher sold at less than impressive levels, was the best-selling self-published Kindle book of 2012. To date, I've sold over a million copies of my own books. Now I'm able to continue series my publishers ended prematurely, and launch new projects. I love that my books are no longer static, that if a cover or a price isn't working, for example, I can change it. If I had any qualms about leaving traditional publishing, they were settled last fall: the royalty check I received from my publisher representing six months of sales for over 40 projects was less than I'd made the previous day in KDP royalties for about 12 books.

This month, the first book in my original self-published mystery series TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY will be released through KDP Select. The series features two estranged sisters (whose last name is Guy) who find themselves husbandless and broke and take on a faltering P.I. agency in a strip mall. And Hollywood is definitely paying attention to self-published books and authors: TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY has been optioned for TV series development and is currently being shopped to networks, so all good wishes appreciated!

-Stephanie Bond

Featured KDP Books

An Innocent Client (Joe Dillard Series No. 1) by Scott Pratt

<ember Spotlight
A preacher is found brutally murdered in a Tennessee motel room. A beautiful, mysterious young girl is accused.

In this Mystery Readers International finalist for "Best Debut Mystery," criminal defense lawyer Joe Dillard has become jaded over the years as he's tried to balance his career against his conscience. Savvy but cynical, Dillard wants to quit doing criminal defense, but he can't resist the chance to represent someone who might actually be innocent. His drug-addicted sister has just been released from prison and his mother is succumbing to Alzheimer's, but Dillard's commitment to the case never wavers despite the personal troubles and professional demands that threaten to destroy him.

Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines

<ember Spotlight
Life outside of her house was a new experience for Della Sloane. The dark secrets of her past weren't something she ever intended to share with anyone. They would never understand. No one would ever get close enough to find out. There was always a chance she'd go crazy sooner than they expected…

Woods Kerrington had never been one to be attracted to fragile females. They seemed like too much work. He wasn't in it for the work just the pleasure. A night full of naughty fun had been exactly what was on his mind when he'd laid eyes on the hot little number that didn't know how to pump gas and needed some help.

What he didn't know was she was as fragile as they came. The carefree girl who spoke her mind and didn't care what the world thought of her was more breakable than he could ever imagine…

CyberStorm by Matthew Mather

<ember Spotlight
Sometimes the worst storms aren't from Mother Nature, and sometimes the worst nightmares aren't the ones in our heads. Mike Mitchell, an average New Yorker already struggling to keep his family together, suddenly finds himself fighting just to keep them alive when an increasingly bizarre string of disasters start appearing on the world's news networks. As the world and cyberworld come crashing down, bending perception and reality, a monster snowstorm cuts New York off from the world, turning it into a wintry tomb where nothing is what it seems...


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