Ten Weeks in Review: What Worked, What Didn’t

In August, when I first learned about publishing with Amazon’s DTP, I knew absolutely nothing of what to expect.  While I found a few blogs where authors included a few detailed experiences of how their first few weeks and months went, too many were from established authors or those few who got very, very lucky.  So, that’s why I focused by blog on these details I couldn’t find elsewhere.

So, to begin, here are my sales graphs in the 10 weeks since “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” has been released:

I now want to continue on from a post of mine in September, telling what worked and what didn’t, in my own case, in the last 6 weeks.

What Worked

Kindle Nation Daily.  I went into detail about it in a previous post here, and the sales spike from this one-day sponsorship stand out in the above sales graph without any need for labeling.  Although I haven’t noticed an ‘after-glow’ from it, that doesn’t mean there isn’t or won’t be one, and either way, who cares. Any advertising that can pay for itself in a single day has to be worth it.  Every book I will release, I will utilize this extraordinary advertising tool, although I do think the gimmicky genre of my book helped (and I don’t expect the same results when “The Year We Finally Solved Everything” has its KND sponsorship on December 7th).  And it does seem like the $79.99 cost for the one-day sponsorship has stabilized.  I think it’s a fair price.

Daily Cheap Reads

This has been great, especially for a free service.  If you look at the sales graphs, you can see a second spike just in the last few days which I can attribute to DailyCheapReads.  Unlike many other blogs/websites that have a daily feature on an indie book, DailyCheapReads seems to have a reader base that extends beyond other indie-authors.  So, when your book ends up on DailyCheapReads, you’re not just preaching to the choir.  All told, in the two days from my book’s posting on DailyCheapReads, I had more than 20 sales.  That’s more than I had in the previous 2 weeks.  But, there’s more to this…

Amazon Customer Discussions

I’ve mentioned this before and I know it’s a contentious issue because people aren’t really supposed to promote their books on these forums.  However, I was lucky enough this time to get someone, who picked up my book after reading about it at the DailyCheapReads site, to start her own thread promoting my book.  As soon as this discussion started, sales started picking up again.  I really think this is one of the best ways to get noticed by customers who don’t frequent KindleBoards and those other websites and it wouldn’t have happened without the DailyCheapReads posting.

What Didn’t Work (or I can’t tell)

Author Interviews.  I’m wary about writing this.  I’m saying this just in terms of what I’ve noticed in terms of sales.  By no means do I think that an author interview has no merit, but I don’t think it has a noticeable effect on sales.   Honestly, the people who read interviews with authors are people who have already heard of the authors.  I don’t think it does much in terms of opening you up to new readers.  THAT SAID, the fact that these interviews remain online and can be stumbled up by people at any time afterward cannot be discounted.  But it also can’t be measured.  Same thing with…

Indie-Book Websites.  Again, I’m wary of writing this.  And, again, the fact that these postings remain online indefinitely is great.  But, for most of these sites, it seems the readers are the same people who frequent KindleBoards and other sites where they are likely familiar with your book already.  In the end, I didn’t notice any change in sales after being posted on most of these.  The effects could very well be more long term, or unconscious, but they are not obvious.   That said, I do plan on utilizing these for my next books (that said, if I haven’t pissed anyone off with this posting!)

What’s Next

In mid-November, “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” will be the KindleBoards Book of the Day.  Also, I’m still waiting for a few more reviews (some I’m sure are on their way in the next month, some I’m still hoping).  I’ve yet to receive any reviews from a long-established book reviewing site, and I imagine a positive review on one of these would be extremely beneficial.  Here’s hoping.

Finally, I’m going to stop detailing all of my sales quite soon.  At the 3-month mark, I think that will be it.  I do find it a little tacky when established writers continue to talk about their sales (maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, and it sounds too much like boasting, and I don’t like boasting), and while I’m hardly established, I think the point of my blog so far–detailing one un-established author’s sales after releasing his first ebook–will have run its course.

5 thoughts on “Ten Weeks in Review: What Worked, What Didn’t

  1. Maria says:

    Good info. I agree with you on author interviews. As for review sites (non-Amazon) it really has varied for me. I see more of a result if it’s a niche market–in other words if a cozy site reviews my stuff I get more interest in my blog (and probably my books, although it is hard to track) than a generic review site. I also like the sites that cross post their reviews to Goodreads, Amazon, Librarything — more than one place seems to help with exposure.


  2. Keith says:

    Excellent data on the KND. I haven’t used this one yet because most of my spare cash went into copy-editing! And I wonder about the effectiveness of reviewers as well, since a lot of them seem to be backlogged.
    Thanks for the info.

  3. sam says:

    just stumbled across you website while searching for recent information about independent authors self-publishing on kindle and i want to thank you for taking the time to document your experience. i am a screenwriter by nature, but of course have a novel which i have wondered about self-publishing. your experience has not only shown me the way to do it, but has given me more courage to do it in the first place. thank you and best of luck with your sales!

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