Whatley Loves KND

So, the second Kindle Nation Daily Sponsorship for “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” was on Friday, and here’s the updated sales:

About 80 sales can be attributed to the ad, which compares to 65 the last time.   Having more reviews surely helped this time around.  Again, I have to say that I am always impressed with the effectiveness of the KND sponsorship.  No other advertising tool that I’m aware of comes even close.  And these sales do not include people who would have downloaded samples and have not yet made a purchase.

Of note: I sold more than last time (which was in early October) but my sales ranking didn’t come near my previous peak (in October, my ranking made it into the 500’s, this time no higher than the 1300’s).  This shows that people are buying a lot more ebooks of late–which is good news for any author, except for those obsessed with their sales rankings.  I would guess that Amazon Kindle book sales must be close to double what they were back in the autumn.  I think that at this rate, in another year or two cracking the 10 000 mark will become quite an acheivement.

Finally, I have three more KND sponsorships lined up: Mid-March for “The Year We Finally Solved Everything,” early April for “Whatley Tupper” and April 30th for the release of “The Redemption of Mr. Sturlubok.”




Whatley in 2010

I’m back in Vancouver, a city with the following adjectives for rain in typical weather forecasts: mist, drizzle, light rain, showers, rain with snow at higher elevations, thunder showers, periods of rain, and heavy rain.

So, it’s the last day of 2010, and here are all my sales for “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” at Amazon.com:

Take this for what it is: one person’s sales for a first book, without any previous publishing credits, contacts or experience.  I’ve learned a fair number of things over these last four months (crap, it’s only been 4 months!  It feels so much longer since I discovered Amazon’s DTP) but I most certainly have a hell of a lot more to learn.

Some points of interest labeled on the graph…

A: This was my first 99 cent sale, which lasted an entire week (in general, the standard price has been $2.99 otherwise)

B: This was my KND daily sponsorship on October 8th.  One look at this graph explains why I am such a fervent supporter of this.

C: My feature on DailyCheapReads.com, followed by a customer discussion at Amazon.com where a reader, who discovered the book at DailyCheapReads liked the book and started a thread which had postings for several days.

D: My second 99 cent sale, which only lasted 3 days in mid-November.

E: The days after Christmas, in which I’ve noticed a slight uptick in the rate if sales, from just under an average of 1 a day to more than 1 a day.  Although, it’s only been a week, so it’s far too early to tell if this will last.

Notice, unfortunately, that I had a KindleBoards book of the day, between C and D, which doesn’t really show on the graph.

So, take what you will from this data.  If you’re in the same situation that I was back in the summer (an unpublished author, completely ignorant to the world of epublishing), then perhaps you can make your own judgments about what worked and what didn’t.

And have a happy new year.  I have several promotions for “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” set up for January, and I’ll detail them throughout the month.



KND and The Year We Finally Solved Everything (Part 2)

So, two days ago, The Year We Finally Solved Everything was the KND sponsor, and my goal was to sell 40 copies.  I sold… 35, which is roughly half of how things when with Whatley Tupper after this amount of time.  Not surprising, and while I’m a little short of my goal, it still pretty much pays for itself.  And this doesn’t take into account anyone who downloaded the sample only to purchase it a week or so later.  As well, if this leads to one or two reviews, it definitely makes it worthwhile.

Overall, even though this KND sponsorship wasn’t as successful as with “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper,” it’s still by far the best paid promotional tool I’m aware of.  Nothing else has come even close to directly paying for itself (and I’m aware that advertising isn’t meant to immediately pay for itself).

I already have two more KND sponsorships in waiting.  One is for Whatley Tupper again (in mid-January, hoping a lot of people got Kindles for Christmas), and one for my upcoming choose your own adventure, “The Redemption of Mr. Sturlubok” on April 30th.  I’ll write more about my plans for the release of that book later.  Right now, Daniel and I are on track for finishing the draft in January sometime.  Should be good…

KND and The Year We Finally Solved Everything

Today, “The Year We Finally Solved Everything” is the Kindle Nation Daily sponsor.   When I last had a KND sponsor for “Whatley Tupper,” I was extremely impressed with the results.  However, I’ve always felt that a choose your own adventure for adults is a much easier sell than a dramatic piece, and looking at how the sales of each compare, this seems to be true.  Generally, “Whatley” seems to outsell “The Year…” by a ratio of 3 to 1.

So, my goal is that I sell 40 copies today of “The Year…” and perhaps notice a little bump of Whatley as well.  40 would pay for the sponsorship, which seems like a good goal.  But, we’ll see.  I’ll post an update tomorrow.



Quiet Times

I wasn’t planning on updating my sales figures for “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” beyond this point, but several people have asked me to continue.  I guess we all like to compare.  I’m not going to be as regular with it, and I’m not going to update my spreadsheet everyday–that was just getting annoying–but I will, from time to time, update my total sales.  I must say, since the burst of sales in the first half of November, from my Amazon 99 cent sale and ending with the KindleBoards Book of the Day sponsorship, things have been very, very, very quiet.  Like, 2 sales in the last week quiet.  Like, the quietest week I’ve had since publishing, quiet.  Now, that’s some quiet.

I noticed after my Kindle Nation Daily sponsorship spike that sales really flattened out, so perhaps this is related.  I’m not sure.  I guess, I have no idea where most of my sales for Whatley Tupper come from anymore.  I don’t believe anything really comes from forums, like KindleBoards or MobileReads, the people at those sites have seen my books already.  I don’t know how people stumble upon my books and buy one.  I presume through reading a blog review, some word of mouth.  Whatever it is, there’s no much happening.  But, I fine with it for now.  These are quiet times.  I’m still hoping for a few blog reviews before Christmas, and I have another KND sponsorship for Whatley in early January.  So, I know things will look up in the future.

Or, I hope things will look up in the future.

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.

Eighth Week in Review

So, the post KND week, and there hasn’t been much of an afterglow:

After the weekend, it was actually one of my slower weeks of sales.  However, if there is going to be any lasting improvement in sales because of KND, it’ll have to involved people enjoying the book and telling their friends.  Word of mouth takes time, if it happens at all.  I’m still very impressed with my KND results, but I hope to see a general improvement.  That said, I had no other promotions this week.

And this makes me realize that while I wait/hope for another blog to review my book, while I wait for another advertisement to have its day, I don’t feel like there’s a lot I can do to promote my book anymore.  I used to try posting a lot at KindleBoards or MobileForums, and I still do, but I don’t think it’s making a difference to my sales.  I feel that those who frequent these boards have already read/heard about my book, so I’m preaching to the choir, somewhat.  These are great places to ask questions and learn about new promotions, but I don’t feel that I’m connecting with any new customers.

So, how does one connect with potential new customers at this point?  First, I think I need to be patient.  I’ve read many times that self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint, and that sticks with me.  It takes time to build a fan-base.  It takes time to get reviews on Amazon.  It takes time to get reviews from blogs (I’m still hoping for another three or so in the next couple of months).  Often, I’m tempted to release my next book right away, but I’ve always come to the conclusion that it’s better to take it slow, build that fan-base, that review-base.   I wrote the draft of my first novel in 1998 and I published by first book in August of 2010 through Amazon.  There’s  no need getting impatient.   I have to keep telling myself this.

This week, I have an interview being posted at mustmutter.  Also, I’m upping the price to $3.99, just to see what happens.  I’d like to keep it there for some time, to be honest.

Seventh Week in Review

So, let’s get this out of the way from the start, the thesis statement of my post: Kindle Nation Daily sponsorships (US) works.   At least for me.  Here’s my updated sales graphs:

Note the vertical scale.  My previous highs were just under 10 in a day.  Now it’s shot up to 50 (followed by 13 on Saturday).  Look at some of my previous posts to see how previous peaks have been utterly dwarfed.  The fact that in my experience the ad was paid for in less than 24 hours is quite impressive.  I wouldn’t normally expect the cost of advertising to pay for itself so quickly.  This truly is a win-win situation for Stephen Windwalker (the one-man operation that is Kindle Nation Daily) and for the sponsors.  I do think that $80 is an appropriate fee for the day, and so I hope it doesn’t change for some time.

Now, of course, the question of how sales will be affected in the longer-term are still an unknown.  My goal is for a slight but distinct improvement in day-to-day averages.  Before this weekend, I tended to sell about 1 a day, a little less actually when you ignore various other promotions (such as interviews or Amazon discussions mentioned in previous posts).  My goal is that I’ll average closer to 2 sales a day for the next few weeks.  By next weekend I should start to get a feel of how this will play out.   That said, I’ve already signed up for another KND sponsorship on December 7th.  It will be interesting to see how a second sponsorship pans out.

This week I’ve also signed up for the KindleBoards book of the day (my date is November 14th and the cost was $35) and the RedAdept Reviews sponsorship (the week of January the 8th and the cost was $10).  The fact that these are ‘click-me’ ads, akin to Google or Facebook ads that I don’t really think people ever click on, leads me to believe these will not be terribly cost-effective.  At least not like KND.

This week, however, I don’t have any other promotions on the way.  So, it should be a good way to see how the KND sponsorship plays out.  So, in case my opinion is not clear enough, I now repeat for emphasis: I wholeheartedly recommend a Kindle Nation Daily sponsorship to any self-published author.  And considering that just last week I was somewhat dissing the UK sponsorship, I didn’t think I’d be won over so completely.

Kindle Nation Daily

So, just today Whatley Tupper is the paid daily sponsor at Kindle Nation Daily.  It’s been up for 1 hour, and I’ve had three sales.  It’s an encouraging start.  I’m not sure how a choose-your-own-adventure novel for adults will go over with KND crowd, although I’ve heard it’s male-dominated, so it could work well.  I’ll give a detailed account of how this went for me this weekend.

Also, I’ve already purchased another KND sponsorship for December 7th, so obviously I think this is a good idea.

Quick update:

It’s been exactly 12 hours since my sponsorship went out, and I’m really pleased.  Already I’ve had 32 sales.   This is really going to screw up the scale of my sales graphs!  It seems like this will pay for itself before the day is through.  I’m very pleased, especially after my disppointing experience with KND UK.  It’s early, but right now I’m definitely pleased with the results.

Quick update re: Quick Update

Just noticed that I used the word ‘pleased’ three times in that short paragraph.  How disgraceful.