KindleBoards Book of the Day

I sent in my first request for a KindleBoards Book of the Day some 12 hours after it was announced on the forum (in early October), and the first day available was today, November 14th.  It cost $35.00 (USD).

A couple of weeks later, I put in an order for another Book of the Day ad, this time for “The Year We Finally Solved Everything.”  I was hoping there would be something available in January.  The nearest available date was April 20th.

And that was more than 3 weeks ago.  I can’t imagine how far into the future they are now booked for.  As well, KindleBoards now offers banners space for sale ($40 a day).  These could be an interesting idea–you design them yourself and can make them quite eye catching, especially if you’re a graphic designer wannabe.  People on the forums seem to be really appreciative, and it is great for indie authors to have more avenues to advertise.

But I think it’s overpriced.

Today, I sold only 4 copies of “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper.”  I never expected this promotion to pay for itself, but compared to the success I’ve had at Kindle Nation Daily, DailyCheapReads and the Amazon Customer Discussions, I would have hoped for more.  I think the problem is that people (including me) don’t really look or click on banner ads.  People ignore them.  There are too many ads on too many websites as it is already.

Now, counting daily sales can be a little dangerous.  Firstly, I don’t know how many people downloaded samples and may choose to purchase at a later date.  Secondly, advertising is not about the instant sale.  It’s exposure, and so having an ad does help in this respect (although, then I’d think the banner ad would be more beneficial for this).

But, this isn’t my first attempt at paid promotion, so I have some reason to be disappointed.   Not that I think $35 is a lot of money for an ad.  But, considering the price of Kindle Nation Daily sponsorships ($80 USD with which I generated almost 20 times the sales), I think a more reasonable price would be $20.  Maybe post two or three ads a day.  Once a website starts having ads, I don’t think there’s much of a difference between having 1-2 and 3-4.

That said, these ads are clearly very popular, so perhaps other people have had better luck with it.   And on a final note, I’m noticing more and more websites and blogs with advertisements, and I’m a little wary of how quickly this is happening.  The more ads on the sites, the less powerful they become.  Hopefully prices stay constant.

Sorry, KindleBoards.

(almost) Twelfth Week in Review

This week, I put “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper” on sale for 99 cents from Monday to Wednesday, and advertised this by starting a customer discussion on the Amazon site encouraging authors to post messages detailing any books that are temporarily on sale for 99 cents.  It turned out to be a pretty good idea, as the discussion gained a lot of customer interest (at least in the first few days).  Long story short, I had my best week in sales since my KND sponsorship, although most of those sales were at 99 cents, so the royalties take a hit.  But, in terms of just getting some copies out, I’m very pleased with the results.  Hopefully some people write a review or two, and hopefully it leads to more interest in my other book.

(As a side note, I began that Amazon discussion to promote the fact that “The Year We Finally Solved Everything” is on sale for the entire month for 99 cents.  But Whatley Tupper still outsold The Year… by a ratio of 3 to 1.  I always thought a choose your own adventure for adults would be an easier sell than a dramatic piece, and now I’m certain of it.)

Tomorrow, Whatley Tupper is the KindleBoards Book of the Day, so I’ll post an updated sales graph on Monday evening.  Honestly, I don’t suspect it will be worth the $35 price tag.  I don’t really think many people impulse buy books from ‘click-me’ ads.  But, hopefully I’m wrong.  My goal: 10 sales on Sunday.  I’d need about 17 to break even.

Eleventh Week in Review

 

Look at me, cutting to the chase with the graphs.  Not much time to write at this time.  Not much else to say.  A lull in the middle of the week, altogether fairly slow, but not terrible.  Whatley Tupper is the KindleBoards Book of the Day on the 14th, so I’ll hold off with next week’s update until after that.

 

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.

Ninth Week in Review

The updated graphs:

On Wednesday I had an interview go online at mustmutter, although I don’t know what effect that had.  Honestly, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in terms of sales from interviews, although the fact that they become part of the public realm online and can be stumbled on at any time by anyone is useful.  Blog reviews are more useful, and I’m still waiting on a couple more.

I’ve recently been informed that on Wednesday my book will be featured at Daily Cheap Reads, which I’m hoping will lead to a nice boost right before the end of the month.  I’ll put up a post about that on Thursday.

I mentioned in a previous post that I feel that I’m running out of ways to promote “The Adventures of Whatley Tupper,” and after reading a comment from someone on this blog, I’ve decided to release my new book much sooner than I’d originally planned.  I’m not going to detail the sales of “The Year We Finally Solved Everything,” but I’m curious to see what ‘cross-pollinating’ effects having two books out will have, if any.

And next week I’ll post my thoughts on what worked and what didn’t in my second month.

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.

Sixth Week in Review

I’ve noticed a trend in the sales of my book, pretty much in all six of the weeks since it’s been published.  Perhaps you can spot it here:

Sales are always best in the beginning of the week (Monday to Wednesday), and then dies down to a trickle (or nothing at all, like this week) from Friday to Sunday.   Apparently, people don’t really want to buy silly comedic choose your own adventure books on the weekend.  It’s a Monday thing.

This week I had several things happen: Kindle Nation Daily UK sponsorship, a feature Indie Books Blog, an interview at Kindle Author, as well as a review at Motherlode (all discussed in previous posts).   While I can’t tell what exactly caused what sales, I’m sure the Kindle UK sponsorship led to some American sales, and I’m presuming it was the reason for most of that spike in sales I had (although I’ve had no UK sales this week).  Overall, a nice start to the week, and then a very slow end.   And even though October has been utterly dead to me so far, I did finally break the $100 mark in royalties, so I’ll finally get a cheque at some point–I don’t know how often Amazon pays out to international authors.  But that was a goal of mine that I didn’t think I’d reach in early October, so I’m pleased with that.

This is the week, however, that I’ve been looking forward to for some time.  On Friday, October the 8th, my book will be the paid daily sponsor at the US Kindle Nation Daily.  I’ve read many accounts at KindleBoards where people mention breaking even with this in just a day or two, so obviously that is my hope.  But I also hope that it leads to some longer term exposure.  Either way, I’ve already purchased another US sponsorship, hopefully for early December.   KND has been getting so much positive press at KindleBoards that it seems certain that prices will go up, yet again, and availability will dry up faster and faster.

Finally, I purchased (for $35 USD) a daily feature at KindleBoards for November 14th.   Look at me, Mr. Moneybags…