Welcome to everyone stopping by courtesy of the ROW80 challenge or the Beck Valley Books weekly blog hop.
January's numbers are (mostly) in, so for the benefit of other self-publishing authors (and interested readers) I'd like to recap my experiences with Happily Ever After and Seven Lives...
First, let's talk Amazon vs. The Rest (iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, etc.)
Here's where I'd like to solicit advice from other authors and readers, as January had zero sales for Seven Lives across the spectrum of non-Kindle e-readers. Thus, my question of the week - how do you market to users of Nook, I-Pad/I-Phone, and other e-readers? What has worked for you in getting your books out to this demographic?
Now, I'd like to give you my information about the Amazon KDP program and the results I experienced. This was the first month that I had a pair of books for a rough comparison, one enrolled in KDP Select, one that wasn't.
The KDP Select program is supposed to benefit indie authors by offering 2 major features; a "free promotion" (5 days of "free" status in a 90 day period) and the opportunity to get a proportional share of $700,000 when Amazon Prime members borrow their book. In exchange, the author agrees to publish solely on Amazon for 90 days.
My first question was, "is it more effective to use your 'free' promotion days consecutively, or break them up?" - and looking at the graph of free downloads, I believe the answer is that a 'free download' period should be limited to 2 days at a time. Thus a KDP Select author might introduce the book free for a weekend, and then offer a "free for Friday" or similar incentive 2-3 more times in the course of their 90-day intro period. The benefit here? 25% of all paid sales were recorded in the 4 days immediately following the 'free' promotion. Thus, one can imagine taking advantage of this "sales bump" on consecutive occasions if the promotion is segmented, rather than used in one fell swoop.
My second question was "how effective is this promotion, anyway?" - well, Happily Ever After went to #3 in Germany on Amazon.co.de's Fiction --> Fairy Tales category, and #33 here in the US. Free downloads totalled 656, with 75% of those coming from Amazon.com, and the majority of the other 25% coming from the UK and German sites. All that sturm und drang only translated into 17 paid sales and 2 "borrows", but that was about 3 times the sales for Seven Lives... So, free promotions definitely raise awareness and distribution, and do appear to have an impact on sales. The question is, do you need the KDP Select program to make this happen? I plan to try offering a "free-kend" for Seven Lives just by going into the KDP Dashboard and setting its price to zero, and then compare the results and report them here.
If anyone has questions for me regarding my experiences, feel free to ask and I'll be happy to answer them here.
Now, as for ROW80 goals, I'm definitely off-track at this point for French and fitness; I'm finding it hard to get focused on either while I'm on the road. On the other hand, I have found a new house (off to sign the papers for the mortgage today) gotten a SC driver's license, and finished a prerequisite course for my future job. I also did send off the proposal and sample chapter for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Indonesian, so fingers crossed that I'll get a positive reply in the coming months. Meanwhile, I'll start writing the book, so that if it's accepted, I'll be ahead of the curve, and if it's not, I'll still be able to self-publish it.
Last but not least, doing the research for a historical fiction novel that's not even a part of my original ROW80 goals has given me some great material for a new short story (Napoleonic War era) and has been a fun and instructive process.
That's it for me, at least for today.
Hope you've found some of this interesting, and I do look forward to hearing your thoughts.