(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.

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.

The Year We Finally Solved Everything (pre-release)

Just what the hell is a pre-release?  Well, it’s when an author feels 98% confident about his book and impatiently wants to get some free/cheap copies out while his wife does one last read-through to look for any remaining typos.  So, this is my pre-release of “The Year We Finally Solved Everything”.

I’m just trying to get as many copies out as I can right now before I do any proper promotion, hoping that the same blogs that reviewed “Whatley Tupper” will be willing to review this.  So, it’s free at Smashwords right now and only 99 cents at Amazon.  If you’re interested, click here.


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…

Five weeks in review

So, as mentioned in my last post, I received a big boost in sales early in the week in which I attribute almost completely to an active discussion in the Amazon Customer Discussions for a few days.  Over these last few days the discussion has pretty much dried up, and the effect on sales it quite apparent:

And the effect on royalties just as obvious:

Thanks (I believe) to those discussions, I had more sales last week (especially in the first few days) than I did in the week when my book was priced at 99 cents.   Like I wrote earlier, that single discussion made a bigger impact on sales than anything else I’ve done.  But, these last few days things are quieting down.

Tomorrow (Monday), I have my paid sponsorship for Kindle Nation Daily UK.  Most of what I’ve read about the UK sponsorship leads me to believe I should count myself lucky to just get a few sales.  If this is the case, then the UK sponsorship is way overpriced.  I’ll let you know on Tuesday with a detailed post on this.   It seems that UK Kindle sales at about 1/10th of the Amazon.com site’s sales, so I guess I hope to get a whopping 5 sales from that sponsorship.   At 35% royalties, that’s… not much.  We’ll see.