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Amazon has just added an exciting new tool to its Kindle publishing platform that I think will be a powerful tool for indie authors and publishers. It is called Kindle Countdown Deals. It taps into a huge sales psychology trigger that is as powerful (and more profitable) than their KDP Giveaways. Let me tell you what it is all about.

Until now, the main Kindle specific marketing tool available to indie authors and publishers has been the KDP Free Day. This is still available and lets you set up to 5 days per enrollment period in which you can give your Kindle book away for free. Many people bristle at the notion of giving away something they worked hard to create, but it can be a useful way to stir up interest in a new book or get an older title into readers' hands and entice them to check out your other publications.

Price Pulsing

Clever self-publishing authors have taken advantage of the freedom Amazon gives to change sales prices on their Kindle books to manually create their own price promotions using a strategy known as price-pulsing. You radically drop the price of your book until sales pick up, and then raise the price back to normal and ride the momentum from the discount.

There are a few problems with price pulsing. First, you have to do everything manually and wait for Amazon to review and approve every price change. This makes the process imprecise and time consuming. Beyond that, every time the price changes, Amazon revises the 'full price' that is listed for your book. So, a book listed at $.99 will not appear as a heavily discounted book that normally sells for $7.99. Shoppers will just assume it's another cheap book - unless they are already familiar with it.

Finally, your royalty rate changes when you drop your price below $2.99. During your price pulse, each book brings in less income and Amazon keeps a bigger cut.

Still, even with the inherent problems, price pulsing can be very effective. They stimulate sales without giving the fruits of your labors away for nothing.

Kindle Countdown Deals to The Rescue

Now Amazon has thrown a new promotional tool into the self-publishing indie author's tool kit, the Kindle Countdown Deal!

A Kindle Countdown Deal lets Kindle publishers set a promotion for any book enrolled in the KDP Select program to set up a price discount that raises incrementally over time back to full price. The promotion can last up to 7 days and include up to 5 price jumps. The lowest price allowed is $.99 and Amazon will automatically calculate the price jumps and timing once you schedule the promotion.

The power of this tool is that it builds a sense of urgency into the mind of a prospective buyer. If they wait to purchase your book, they will miss out on the deal if they wait. There is even a countdown clock that appears next to price to intensify the urgency to buy now.

Amazon will continue to display the full price of your book during the promotion so shoppers will KNOW they are getting a discount and not just a cheap book.

Amazon has developed a special promotional page just for Kindle Countdown Deals, so you will also get extra promotional visibility on the Amazon site for your book during the promotion.

One of the best benefits is that Amazon will also preserve your royalty rate throughout the promotion - even when the price is down below $2.99.

You can set and forget the promotion on the KDP site and Amazon will take care of the rest. They have even created a special reporting tool to help you evaluate the results of your promotion.

A Few Caveats

Like most things, there are a few limitations. This biggest one being that Kindle Countdown Deals are only available in the US and UK markets. Your country of origin doesn't matter, the limitation applies to buyers not authors/publishers. If you sell a lot of books outside these 2 markets, this might not be a good option for you.

The territorial restrictions will likely change over time, but the initial markets are limited as of this writing.

In addition, you can't run free promotions and countdown deals for a book during the same KDP enrollment period (90 days). You have to choose one or the other.

To be eligible for a Kindle Countdown Promotion your book must be enrolled in the KDP Select program for at least 30 days. So, if you plan to use this tool during a book launch campaign, you will need to do a 'soft launch' where the title is available at full price before your big launch promotion with the lower price.

Your discount must also be at least $1.00 below the normal price and your book must be normally priced between $2.99 - $24.99 (£1.99 – £14.99 in the UK). The regular list price must not have been changed for 30 days prior to your Kindle Countdown Promotion.

A Kindle Countdown Promotion can last a maximum of 7 days and have a maximum of 5 price jumps (Amazon calculates the timing and exact price change based on the settings you pick - they average out evenly over the course of the promotion.)

All Kindle Countdown Promotions must end at least 14 days before the end of your current KDP Select enrollment period. Presumably this gives Amazon a chance to profit from the popularity bounce a title will receive once the promotion is over.

The Bottom Line

Amazon has created a powerful promotional tool for Kindle publishers and authors that let's them tap into powerful sales psychology to promote their books without resorting to freebie giveaways. I have already scheduled my first Kindle Countdown Promotion and am eagerly waiting to see the results it provides.

New Kindle Countdown Deals Promotional Tool, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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