Stick with me while I get to the point.**
I actively enjoy marketing my law firm. Probably because of my entrepreneurial bent, I find it very gratifying when I come up with a new marketing idea, implement it on a Monday, and by Wednesday of the following week it is already bearing fruit in the form of new clients.
A couple of months ago, I decided to try out podcasting as a way to promote my firm. I have a radio background from my days in college, but I had no knowledge of how to create and publish a podcast, and in fact had only recently discovered the podcasting phenomenon. (I’d venture to say that many of you have still not downloaded a podcast app onto your smart phones. Not to worry, on the next release of iOS it will be native, and soon Stitcher Radio (a podcast app) will be standard on your new car.)
So, knowing nothing about podcasting, I went to the amazon store and bought and read three e-books on podcasting, and watched innumerable videos on YouTube. I intend to start a podcast on law firm marketing, but to gain some experience first, I decided to do a podcast devoted to my primary practice area, California SLAPP Law. No fear of being embarrassed if my podcast was a little amateurish while I found my legs because, after all, who is going to listen to a podcast on such a narrow area of the law?
So I created my humble California SLAPP Law Podcast, put it up on iTunes, and within two weeks it had generated new business for the firm. As I explain here, a prospective client was searching for information on a specific statute, I had talked about that statute on my podcast and therefore listed it on the show notes on my blog, and Google was kind enough to take the prospective client to my blog, based on that one reference to the statute.
That’s why I get such a kick out of marketing. I came up with an idea, put it into action, and got almost immediate results.
I just published the ninth episode of the California SLAPP Law Podcast, and even though it is still in its infancy, the podcast I thought no one would listen to gets downloaded and listened to over 150 times per week. That may not sound like a lot, but as one podcasting expert put it, just picture if you offered a course at the Learning Annex and 150 people signed up. That would be a huge success! I have 150 listeners, and since I can’t imagine that the general public has a burning interest in SLAPP law, I’m guessing my listeners are mostly lawyers. Think they might send me a SLAPP case if comes up in their practice?
Getting closer to the point.
So what does ANY of this have to do with the title of this article, Kindle Unlimited – You Just Became a Genius for $9.99 per Month?
Heck if I know, but it could have something to do with that part where I bought three e-books on podcasting from Amazon. I go through e-books like newspapers whenever I am interested in a new subject area. I read two or three e-books per week on matters related directly or indirectly to law firm marketing, so I can implement new ideas at my own firm and report them here. I round out my weekly reading with other topics and a smattering of fiction.
Even though we live in wonderful times where e-books can be had for a fraction of the price of their printed brethren, going through four or five books per week can still be a costly addiction.
Kindle Unlimited (the point, but with a little digression about KDP Select).
Now comes Kindle Unlimited. Like other plans, Kindle Unlimited allows you to download an unlimited number of e-books for just $9.99 per month. The current catalog includes over 600,000 titles, and 8,000 audiobooks. The couple of reviews I’ve read about Kindle Unlimited have made the inevitable comparisons to Scribd and Oyster, who offer similar services for the same price, but from my perspective there is no comparison and they are utterly missing the point.
Authors who publish through Amazon have the option of joining a program called KDP Select. It’s a marketing system that allows the authors to market their books in certain ways and earn higher commissions. It also offers the books worldwide. It’s a great program. My book, How to Create a Big, Fat Pipeline of New Clients for Your Law Firm in Just 10 Days, (still the number one law firm marketing book on Amazon) is in the KDP Select program. The price an author pays for being in KDP Select is that he or she must agree to sell exclusively through Amazon for no less than 90 days.
When Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, without so much as asking “pretty please may I?”, it made the entire library of KDP Select books available to anyone subscribing to Kindle Unlimited. Amazon did announce, however, that authors with books in KDP Select did not have to wait until the 90 day commitment had run, and could immediately opt out if they did not want their books offered for “free” in KDP Select.
“So do you get a royalty when a Kindle Unlimited subscriber downloads a “free” copy of Big, Fat Pipeline?”, you ask. Thank you so much for your concern. That means a lot to me.
The answer is, heck if I know. You are probably familiar with Amazon Prime. You pay $100 per year for free shipping and a bunch of other goodies like free movies. Amazon Prime members also get to borrow one book per month for free, and can lend books they bought to others (I think maybe you can lend a book even if you are not a member of Amazon Prime). Amazon creates a “fund” for all those freebies, and I still get a royalty when my book is borrowed or loaned. Thus far, those royalties have been about the same 70% I get for a regular e-book sale, and under Kindle Unlimited it’s supposed to work the same way. If true, then Kindle Unlimited could be great for authors, because any buying resistance is removed since the books are now “free”. Why hesitate to buy a book and take the time to carefully read all the reviews if it is free? Might as well download it and take a look. And if there are two similar books on the same subject – one that can be downloaded for free via Kindle Unlimited and another that the reader would have to pay for – which one is the reader likely to get? The program should get Big, Fat Pipeline onto a lot more Kindles. I’ll just have to wait and see if the royalties keep pace. It’s all a function of how much money Amazon deigns to put into the fund.
I thought you might appreciate that little primer on Amazon in case you are thinking of publishing there, but let’s get to the point.
Kindle Unlimited (back on point).
As a reader, Kindle Unlimited is AMAZING. The reason that comparing Kindle Unlimited to Scribd and Oyster is apples to oranges is because the latter two do not have access to the KDP Select library. That offers a HUGE repository of nonfiction books that you can draw upon to gain expertise on just about any imaginable subject. And don’t forget the 8,000 audiobooks being offered. I love audiobooks, but they are pricey.
Don’t quote me on it, but the average price of an e-book on Amazon (at least the ones I buy) is about $5. My five e-book per week habit was running me about $25 per week, or more than $100 per month. Kindle Unlimited will pay for itself if I download just two e-books per month.
(Incidentally, for another peek behind the curtains, e-book authors usually price their books between $2.99 and $9.99 on Amazon because Amazon pays a 70% royalty for e-books selling in that price range. Any more or less, and the royalty drops to just 35%. An author makes more on an e-book that sells for $9.99 than one that sells for $18.99.) (Too much use of parentheticals?)
The day I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, I immediately downloaded ten books that I wanted to read, all for free. Ten books is the maximum you can have in your library at one time, but it is kind of a distinction without a difference, because if you try to borrow number 11, Amazon just asks you which book you want to return. You can just swap out a book and then swap it back in later when you finish one of the ten.
My e-book habit.
How do I go through so many books in a week? As I explain in more detail here, I use my Kindle’s text-to-speech function, cranked up to two or three times the normal speed (no, there is no chipmunk quality), and listen to books whenever I am commuting, showering, dressing, etc. If you are considering a Kindle, be aware that not all the models have text-to-speech capabilities. Click here for information on the various Kindle models. I recall that only the Kindle Fire HD and HDX can do text-to-speech, but be sure to double check.
The truth is, especially when you read multiple books on the same topic, even a great book may offer only ten or twenty really good, new to you takeaways. As I’m listening to an e-book at warp speed, I can easily absorb the broad concepts, and if a really good takeaway pops up, I can slow it down and repeat, or have Siri send whatever I want to remember to Evernote.
(Did you know you can have Siri on your iPhone add notes to your Evernote account? Here’s how. Of course you can dictate directly into Evernote, but the Siri method allows you to do it hands free. No distracted driving for you! The next version of iOS will make this even better, because Siri will obey your commands without you even having to push that one button to get her attention. And if you’ve seen that episode of The Big Bang Theory, you know that Siri is a real woman answering your questions in real time.)
The amount of information now available to you for just $9.99 per month is truly staggering. But how does this make you a genius? I read somewhere (or made it up) that if you read three books or more on any subject, that will move you to the top 2% of the world on knowledge of that subject. That may seem implausible, but think about it. You’ve probably seen the “Jaywalking” segments on the Tonight Show, where Jay Leno interviews random people on the street. (I got thrown off the Tonight Show stage once. Ask me about it in the comments and I’ll tell the tale.) He will hold up a picture of George Washington and only about one in five people can identify who it is, but they ALL can name each of the Kardashians.
People really don’t know great detail about anything beyond their immediate interests. Pick a narrow subject like the Battle of Gettysburg. Read and absorb three really good books on that subject. Now go back to picturing the people interviewed by Jay Leno. Do you now know more than them about the Battle of Gettysburg? Okay, that may not be a fair test, but the same would be true about the population in general. It would likely be the case that you would now not only know more about the Battle of Gettysburg than the general public, but you would probably beat out history teachers and professors, because while they probably have a good knowledge of the Civil War in general, it is unlikely that their schooling would have included such an intense study of that one particular battle. And remember, you are only trying to get into the top 2% of the world. I’ll bet the entire population of China knows very little about that battle.
Admittedly, this three book approach is best with pure information topics as opposed to skills. In other words, if I read three books on how to play the trumpet, I probably would not become one of the top 2% of trumpet players (although, even then, I imagine I would know a lot more about playing the trumpet than other non-trumpet players). But even with this limitation, the three book approach to expertise is very exciting.
So, sign up for Kindle Unlimited now (you can try it for free for 30 days), and become a genius on your chosen topics, whether they be your practice areas and/or law firm marketing. You do not have to have a Kindle to read the e-books you download, but for the text-to-speech feature, you do. After you sign up, be sure to grab a free copy of How to Create a Big, Fat Pipeline of New Clients for Your Law Firm in Just 10 Days.
If you came to YourOwnLawFirm.com through this article, and want to get the full benefit of the site, then please click on the START HERE button to begin at the beginning. I’ll show you step-by-step how to launch your first niche site. If you already have a website where you are utilizing content marketing (or want to try something different), then here are some more articles on how to market your law firm.