Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Amazon Numbers

So after a six month hiatus where I spent very little time experimenting with my sales, I got back on the horse and started playing around with KDP Select.

Some folks may remember last year, when a KDP free period for my ebook The List lead to me earning $100,000 in six weeks on Amazon.

I haven't been able to replicate that experience, but I have been pleased with the numbers I've gotten in the last few weeks due to KDPS.

In January, I made The List free for a five day period. Prior to that, it was ranked around #10,000. When I did the promotion, I managed to hit the Top 10 in Free, and gave away over 35,000 ebooks.

Since coming off the free promo, The List has sold 623 copies at $3.99, and had 742 borrows (I assume at $1.80). So it has made over $3,000 in 12 days, or about $250 a day. It is currently ranked at #1974, and is #39 in the Top 100 Police Procedural category.

I'm happy with this. After hearing lots of writers moaning about how KDP Select is no longer working, I'd argue it worked pretty well for me. A title that was off the bestseller lists is now on several of them, and selling steadily. While $3k isn't $100k, I've still paid my mortgage, health insurance, and several utilities in twelve days with only one title. Who could complain about that?

Emboldened by this modest success, I put another title in KDP Select, Afraid.

Afraid was ranked around #9000 before I began. I gave away about 16,000 copies, and have sold about 400 copies since it came off its promo. It is currently ranked around #7000.

I don't know why Afraid didn't do as well as The List, but I don't think the free period was a failure. The numbers after the free period more than made up for the five days it wasn't for sale, and it did improve my ranking and get me on the Occult Top 100, where it remains. It wasn't on a bestseller list prior to the giveaway. And of course, there is an intangible benefit to potentially gaining new readers via freebies who become fans and later buy my work. But this is impossible to measure.

Then I tried another title, under one of my pen names that I haven't copped to publicly. I gave away over 20,000 ebooks, and since January have made over $17,000.

This amuses me on several levels.

First, it puts an end to the nonsense that "Konrath sells because he's a name author and known" because this pen name is unknown to everyone.

Second, I don't consider this title one of my better works, but consumers talk with their wallets and apparently I'm not a very good judge of which of my books are worthy and which aren't.

Third, Holy Shit I Made $17k In A Few Weeks!

When I got my Jack Daniels titles back earlier this month, I put Bloody Mary up for a five day free period, ending yesterday. It hit #2 on the Top 100 Free list, and I gave away 42,000 copies. Currently is is ranked #693, and I've sold 150 copies and loaned 70 in a 15 hour period. So Bloody Mary is currently earning me $35 an hour.

One of the things I've always believed is that a rising tide raises all boats, and it is nice to see that confirmed by Bloody Mary. It's the second in the Jack Daniels series. While it was free, it buoyed the sales of the first in the series, Whiskey Sour, to the tune of 450 sales and 100 loans.

Whiskey Sour, which went live on Feb 4 and didn't get fully integrated into Amazon's website until the Feb 11, has earned me $1400 in nine days. It is currently ranked at #850.

Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, and the third in the series, Rusty Nail, are all on the Top 100 Police Procedural bestseller list, hanging there with The List. They're also on a few other bestseller lists.

As we all know, the more bestseller lists your title is on, the more exposure it receives, which results in more sales.

I also tried KDPS with my horror novel Endurance. It was ranked about #11,000. It is now at #1808 and on several bestseller lists after giving away 12,000 ebooks. It came off promo on Feb 11, and has sold about 60 copies since then. Not huge, but 30 a day at $2.70 profit per sale is $81 a day, and I can live with that.

Why is Endurance ranked better than Afraid when Afraid had more giveaways? I have no idea. Afraid seems to be selling a bit better than Endurance overall, but they are 4000 apart in ranking. If I had to guess, Afraid somehow missed getting the bounceback from the freebie period that my other titles got. For the uninitiated, the "bounceback" is the phenomenon that sometimes occurs when an ebook does well on the freebie bestseller lists, and when it is once again for sale it bounces over to the paid bestseller lists, usually lower down.

Sometimes bounceback works. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't know why.

But I do know that it was worthwhile pulling my ebooks from the other platforms to play around with KDPS, because I seem to be improving my sales and borrows by doing so.

I don't like the fact that Amazon demands ebooks in KDPS be exclusive. I think customers, and authors, would be better off if Amazon allowed KDPS ebooks to be nonexclusive. It would mean more ebooks in KDPS program, which is good for Amazon customers. It would also mean authors could earn more money, freeing up their time to write more books.

That said, having playing around with KDPS for the last five weeks, I've increased my Amazon sales by at least 50%, possibly more.

I'm also pleased at how my Jack Daniels books are doing, now that they are under my control. I released two trilogy compilations at $9.99, which have sold 184 copies. The six novels have had 1073 sales at $3.99 ($2.70 profit each) and 208 loans ($1.80 each).

So my Jack books have earned me $4500 in nine days, or $500 a day. And I believe they are just getting started.

Conclusions

The KDPS freebie bounceback still works, though not always, and not as effectively as it once did. I see a general pattern of: the more ebooks you giveaway, the more you sell when the giveaway has ended. But there are some instances where not a lot of giveaways helps boost sales tremendously, and some cases of lots of giveaways only resulting in a minor sales and ranking boost.

The goal, of course, is to keep experimenting. I know that experimenting is annoying when results can't be explained or repeated. But if you have a lot of titles, KDPS is certainly something you should play around with.

Of course, your mileage may vary. A lot. I now have over fifty titles, so taking a few off other platforms to experiment with KDPS doesn't hurt me much. I'm not going to go all in on KDPS because I don't like the exclusivity aspect. As a result, the majority of my ebooks are available on all platforms, and eventually I will get my Jack Daniels ebooks on Kobo and B&N and Sony and Apple and Smashwords. I don't like to exclude fans because they chose a different ereading device. I also personally know authors who have made a ton of money with these other etailers, and I did very well on Kobo in December. So I'll be back.

In my previous post, I tried to drive home the point that this is a business. You are the CEO of your own company, and your IPs are your assets. One of my goals is to maximize the profits these assets can generate. This is impossible to do by remaining static with your sales strategy. Besides utilizing all platforms and playing with KDPS, you can also be playing with prices (lowering and raising), playing with bundling (my Jack Daniels and Jack Kilborn three packs are doing well, and I'm about to release a dual ebook of Whiskey Sour and Desert Places with my frequent partner in crime Blake Crouch), playing with singles (if you have a short story collection, break that up into individual stories for 99 cents each), translating into other languages, selling foreign and audio rights, and selling to Amazon Publishing.

I like Amazon Publishing a lot. They keep raising the bar and getting smarter, and I like releasing a book or two annually with them because they can really promote a title and sell a ton of copies. Right now, A-Pub has five of my titles (Shaken, Stirred, Flee, Spree, Three) and I'd be willing to do more with them. One of the wonderful things about working with Amazon Publishing is how author-friendly they are. They're a joy to work with, and they actually listen. It's like having an equal business partner. I feel like I have some control there, and that puts me at ease.

That said, I'm a prolific writer and I can put out several books per year. I also like having complete control over my assets. A diverse portfolio is wise. Putting all your eggs in one basket is asking for trouble.

Control is something I don't talk about enough on this blog. After a decade of having very little control over my IPs, I now can run things they way I see fit. Not only will this earn me more money, but it has the wonderful side-effect of freeing my from all of my stress. I'm in the lucky position of having no one able to make me unhappy.

I got into this business in 2002. Now, for the first time, I'm master of my own destiny, captain of my own ship. The freedom to make my own decisions is, in many ways, more important to me than money.

As always, when you run your business, you need to set your own attainable goals. "Attainable" means they are within your power. Anything that requires the "yes" or "no" from someone else isn't a goal, it's a dream.

Finishing my next book by the end of March and getting it live is a goal.

Selling my series to Hollywood is a dream.

I have no dreams. Zero. I'm much happier being in control of my career, and having attainable goals. If money magically appeared at my doorstep in the form of a big deal, taking it would be contingent upon how little I had to be involved. I've played the game where someone else has power over me, and I didn't like it. I won't ever put myself in that position again.

As a self-published author, your freedom to make your own choices is an incomparable strength. Use that freedom to try different things, and learn from your failures and successes. A company is only as good as its CEO.

Be a good CEO.

97 comments:

Nick Stephenson said...

Great post joe - good to see that KDP free still works. The fact you got some good results with an unknown pen-name just goes to show that, if you plan and market properly, this strategy still works.

I'll be giving this a go, for sure. And great news on getting your Jack Daniels rights back

Nick

Joe Hart said...

Thanks Joe for the transparency as always, you're knowledge and experience is invaluable. I had recent success with a Select giveaway last week with my latest horror novel, but it was in the UK instead of the US. I gave away my book for 2 days and saw a nice bump in sales over the weekend and forgot to check how I was doing overseas. On Monday morning I awoke to my book shooting up the ranks in the UK and by mid-afternoon I cracked the top 100, peaking at #74 overall. I'm still on several bestseller lists although the sales have dropped over the last 2 days. Not sure why the success was more prominent in the UK, but I'm thrilled to say the least. This is the reason I keep all my titles in the Select program, it's been the best sales tool for me period.

Joe Konrath said...

I played around with freebies for 2 days, and I've found the best thing to do is go all in for the full 5 days. That seems to be the most bang for the buck, as the title gathers momentum and continues to climb after day 2 and 3. By day 5 it is usually on the downslide.

TK Kenyon said...

Great post, Joe!

Thanks so much for sharing your numbers with us. It's so generous.

TK Kenyon

Nick Stephenson said...

thanks for the tips - did you use the same approach for your 'secret' book, eg - all 5 days?

Joe Hart said...

Gotcha, I always wonder if leaving it for free that long will have the opposite effect but I'm guessing you're right. Next time I do a promo I'll leave it for longer. Thanks Joe!

Jeff Shelby said...

The people who whine about KDPS are the ones who put zero time into their careers and understanding the entirety of the business. No, it doesn't work like it did 12 months ago because Amazon smartened up and realized that the system needed some filters. Not a bad thing...if you treat your career professionally.

To wit - under a pseudonym, I gave away nearly the same exact amount of books you did with The List, running three days for free at exactly the same time The List was free. (We were playing musical chairs for a couple of days on the free list.) So far - over 1500 sales (at $3.99) and over a thousand borrows. It's also pulled along a second book under the same name with over 500 sales.

A great cover and a well-written story will still do well in KDPS with some planning and some experimentation. And some of that experimentation will involve some failure, especially with the freebies. It's not a one-time magic elixir. You have to be willing to experiment to figure out how to use it to your advantage.

Anonymous said...

I did a 4-day free promo for one of my books about 3 weeks ago. It "sold" 34K copies and went to #2 in the free store and #1 in mystery, thriller, etc.. Afterwards, though, very little bounce. Everything quickly defaulted to where it had been before. There was some bounce, enough to make it worth while, but not enough to get excited about short term. Still, it's a long-term game and visibility is the name of the game. Every little bit helps and you never know what intangibles you get that aren't readily obvious.

Jude Hardin said...

Congrats on the great numbers! Did you do anything to promote the free giveaways?

Sariah Wilson said...

KDPS worked for me. I've read so many other authors lamenting its total failure recently, so I didn't have much hope that it would work, but wanted to give it a shot.

It was strictly experimental because I only have one indie book up - "The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back."

In January I had sold 7 books, had 3 borrows. In December 13 sales, no borrows, in November 19 sales, no borrows.

I gave away more than 40,000 copies.

It's been two weeks since my free promo and I'm averaging 35 sales A DAY, and about 28 borrows per day. I went from 30 reviews to over 200 on Amazon. I know the bounceback wasn't as good as it used to be for authors, but for someone who sold 7 books total in the month of January, 35 a day is pretty exhilarating. I don't think it'll last, but I'm still thrilled, and more motivated than ever to get some more books out!

I do have a question for Joe with your free days - did you advertise them at all? Or did you just put them up as free?

Jason said...

"Then I tried another title, under one of my pen names that I haven't copped to publicly."

Aha! You are, and have always been...Ann Voss Peterson. Which makes the Chandler series all the more impressive!

I hope you cop to the pen name(s) soon. There are just a few authors where I try to read everything they put out, and you are one of them. So this really bugs me! Guess I'll be perusing other JK authors on Amazon now. (Don't be ashamed Joe...I bet you are a kick ass erotica writer!!)

Speaking of the Chandler series, I notice Amazon has Three set at a Kindle pre-order price of $7.99. Even though I can't wait to read it, gonna have to wait for a sale price on that one. I just buy too many e-books to cross that $4.99 threshold anymore.

One final thing - exclusivity doesn't mean much to me now as a reader. Though I prefer to read ebooks on my Nook, I find myself reading just as many on the Kindle/Nook apps on my iPhone/iPad, and once in a while on my PC. I don't even bother with using Calibre to convert files to ePub/Nook format anymore when it's just so easy to read ebooks on the apps. And I always have my iPhone with me!

William Malmborg said...

Fantastic numbers. I too just did a free promo on one of my titles after having not played with the KDP for over a year and was blown away. In two days I gave away 20,000 copies of my novel JIMMY and made it onto the US top 100 list for horror and suspense. Sadly, last week it came off and after a few days with weak sales went back into the teen ranking overall, but the money I made from those two weeks will help me make up some back rent I own my landlord and pay off my credit card, so I consider it a win. Plus I got 20,000 new readers who may go onto my other novels if they like what they read.

Carlos Cooper said...

Right on, Joe. I keep running into people whining about Select. They try it once and quit. I agree that the five day it working much better. Yes you blow it all at once, but if you have at least three books you can do one promo every month. Just wrote a couple posts in response to complainers talking about The Power of Three (http://bit.ly/ZaogSa) and KDP Select complainers (http://bit.ly/X4ZbFj).

I'm seeing the same thing with books I've written under a pen name. You know who the best target audience is? Women.

Keep rockin', Brother.

Mike Fook said...

I've been considering for months, the idea of putting all 25 titles into KDPS and seeing what happens. It will be a pain the a_ _ to remove everything from my sites and Smashwords, but maybe worth it. I only make a few hundred dollars per month outside of Amazon sales. Going exclusive would likely crank me up over that. Maybe substantially. Really hard to say.

Running a business, being CEO is a game of risk. One of the risks we have available is to throw it all into KDPS and see what happens. The risk is the time it takes to make the switch, may not put you on top. The other risk is that you start to like Amazon's teat - like Joe, and start sucking that thing for all it's worth... neglecting your own author site and other distributors.

I want to suck lightly on the teats of many distributors for now.

Committing myself to one teat is a tough thing to do, but it might be the best thing I ever did.

Tough call... tough, tough call.

Cheers,

Mike Fook

Tim McGregor said...

Joe, do you think bundling two or three books together into one eats into the sales of those as individual ebooks?

I've been debating this, as I only have 3 novels on the shelf.

Good post. Thanks for being so open with the numbers.

Gary Ponzo said...

All my books are on KDPS although I've tried the free program and have gotten zero bounceback so it translated into no actual sales. The reason I keep my books on KDPS is because I'm making more per month on the loaning program than I was from B&N on my sales.

I do wonder sometimes if I should return my books to B&N and at least try to nurture my readership there. Then I get paranoid and wonder if Amazon wouldn't be promoting my books within their own promotion devices (email blasts, Readers who bought this book, bought this one etc . . .)if they weren't on KDPS. I'm curious if that's a plausible concern.

Admin said...

To Joe and anyone else who has had success with KDP: do you publicize your free dayson free book blogs or do you just make the books free and let Amazon do the rest? Thnx

Joe Konrath said...

I didn't advertise the freebies.

I have friends who swear by announcing the freebies on websites and blogs that trumpet them, and I think that's a good idea. But I didn't do that this time around.

Joe Konrath said...

Congrats to everyone finding some KDPS success. I've heard lots of whining about it, so it's good to have some of my numbers confirmed.

JH Glaze said...

I am a true believer Joe. if you say it works, it works.

I can say this after having great results in the Select program. The thing that people may forget, as with any promotion, you still have to promote it, even when the book is free.

That is when you seriously call in the street team and get them talking about it.

The sales that come from it are a result of the shadow effect, when people find it after the promo, actually read the synopsis, then buy it.

If you have a book that isn't selling well, put it in select. You have nothing to lose, unless the book sucks of course!

JH Glaze

Werner said...

These are the kinds of posts a working writer wants to see. In order to make a living as a writer you HAVE to treat it as a business.

A couple of months ago I was looking for some info in the Kindle Boards, on the Writer’s CafĂ© forum. A bunch of writer’s were talking about how they weren’t making much or any money with their ebooks. Instead of trying different things and running tests – their overall approach, their ‘great idea’ was, “I’m not going to waste time marketing or promoting my books any more. I’ll just keep writing my stories and somebody is bound to notice me.” Really?...That’s it? That’s how you’re going to build your business?

Dozens of authors with a number books listed on Amazon were guzzling this Kool-Aid. I couldn’t believe it.

It’s sites like yours where I now turn my attention to learn and get ideas to start and grow a writing business.

Thanks Joe.

Ann Voss Peterson said...

""Then I tried another title, under one of my pen names that I haven't copped to publicly."

Aha! You are, and have always been...Ann Voss Peterson. "



Right, Jason! That's why you never see us in the same place at the same time. ;)

Bradley J Milton said...

Good advice. It's just good Business.

Thanks to this, I decided to make my book free to see what will happen.

Hope you all give it a try.

It's not your average book. It's a psychedelic remake of Huckleberry Finn. I took out the "N-word" and some other words and put in a whole lot more. Added robots, TV shows, something for everyone.

Jeff Shelby said...

Admin - I still put out the notices to the free sites when I have a book going free, but even how that works has changed. Amazon has put limitations in place now on the free book advertisers and they now publicize fewer free books each day. So the weight they used to throw around in pushing a free book up the list is significantly less. Don't get me wrong - they still help greatly - but you can give away a fair amount of books even if they don't pick you up. With this last book I gave away two weeks ago, it was not picked up by either ENT or POI, the two biggies in free book advertising. Many of the smaller sites did advertise it to their subscribers, however, and that absolutely helped. For me - it takes about 30 minutes to notify the sites when I have a book going free. For me, it's worth the 30 minutes.

Joe Konrath said...

Right, Jason! That's why you never see us in the same place at the same time.

I could swear I saw you last week. But was that me just looking in the mirror?

If so, I'm a lot thinner than I thought.

Joe Konrath said...

“I’m not going to waste time marketing or promoting my books any more. I’ll just keep writing my stories and somebody is bound to notice me.”

I don't entirely disagree with that, Werner.

The best advertisement for your writing is your writing. The more you write, the likely you are to be discovered.

I didn't do any marketing or promotion for KDPS. No tweeting or announcing or blogging or email blast. I just let the Amazon algorithms do their thing.

It's easy to spend more time on promotion than on writing--something I used to do when my books were with legacy publishers.

Things have changes. While there is undeniable value in having name-recognition and fans, I believe the majority of my sales, and most sales, is "right book/right time/right price."

Translation: The majority of my sales are from people surfing Amazon who come across me. Not people who go to Amazon to find me.

I do believe that experimenting with sales is essential, as I've detailed in this post. But I'm not as keep on marketing and promotion as I once was.

Summer Daniels said...

Joe said:

"I didn't advertise the freebies.

I have friends who swear by announcing the freebies on websites and blogs that trumpet them, and I think that's a good idea. But I didn't do that this time around."

That's okay Joe - I noticed Bloody Mary was free and I posted it on my WTRAFSOG (What To Read After Fifty Shades of Grey) page. It is the very least I could do - you were (are) my inspiration for starting my own writing career.

So - just to be clear - I am totally taking responsibility for your Bloody Mary success. ;-)

(Kidding of course for those who don't have their sarcasm detectors installed properly.)

As some of you may recall - Joe was kind enough to let me do a guest post on this blog back in early September of last year. At the time the WTRAFSOG page had just topped 10,800 fans. Today - 5 months later ... we just crossed 46,000 fans.

For the authors here among us ... feel free to come post on the WTRAFSOG page for a little added exposure. I will provide the caveat that erotica, romance, and erotic romance will get the most attention and sell the best - but "there be voracious readers here" ... and if you write a good blurb ... you never know.

Thanks to Joe as always for such great transparency with his numbers - it helps to validate (in my own mind) some previous decisions I have made with my own series.

I will say - additionally - on top of using KDP ... the strategy of making Book One in a particular series "perma-free" on Amazon has done wonders for myself (and many others) in terms of promoting sales of the rest of the series.

Summer Daniels
WTRAFSOG

B. Rehder said...

Am I right in assuming box sets can't be enrolled in KDP Select? If they could, a borrower would get two or more books for one borrow.

Joe Konrath said...

So - just to be clear - I am totally taking responsibility for your Bloody Mary success.

Thanks, Summer!

It's nice to have friends in high places. :)

Summer Daniels said...

Joe said:

Thanks, Summer!

It's nice to have friends in high places. :)


My pleasure Joe - as I said - this blog was my inspiration to get off my lazy *ss and start actually writing instead of just daydreaming about it.

When you are ready to reveal your super secret erotica writing pen name - let me know - I'm sure we can promote her as well. ;-)~

Summer

Joe Konrath said...

When you are ready to reveal your super secret erotica writing pen name

What makes you think it is erotica?

I could be writing romance. Or medical thrillers. Or YA. Or fantasy. Or even lit fic.

I am a man of many talents, possibly.

Jason said...

What makes you think it is erotica?

Because Summer and DuChamp and Kitt and so many others are making a killing writing it...and you want a piece of that! (So to speak...)

Joe Konrath said...

Because Summer and DuChamp and Kitt and so many others are making a killing writing it...and you want a piece of that!

Sometimes I wonder if I could write erotica. But I'm pretty sure it would wind up having Harry McGlade in it, and turn people off...

Summer Daniels said...

What makes you think it is erotica?

I could be writing romance. Or medical thrillers. Or YA. Or fantasy. Or even lit fic.

I am a man of many talents, possibly.


I have NO doubt you are a man of many talents. I just chose to jump on the bandwagon from earlier comments. I write erotica - I naturally assume the naughtiest outcome from all variables provided. ;-)

Summer Daniels said...

Because Summer and DuChamp and Kitt and so many others are making a killing writing it...and you want a piece of that!

Define killing. I have yet to see said killing occur with my own series - although I can certainly potentially attribute that to the vast time periods between releases of the short volumes of my series.

Joe Konrath said...

I have yet to see said killing occur with my own series

Yet.

Always remember to add "yet" when you say "I haven't made a killing" or "I'm not successful" or "my sales aren't good."

Ebooks are forever. That's a long time to find an audience.

I've seen a lot of my titles have slow periods where they sell 1/10 of what they used to. But sales pick up again. It's an ebb and flow, rise and fall, and there are no such things as old titles.

In this new world, every ebook is new to someone who hasn't seen it before. Maybe they just got an ereader. Maybe they are tying new genres. Maybe they never discovered you while surfing for books like yours. Maybe they finally saw the cover so many times they decided to try it.

The point is, there are many chances, over many years, to find those readers that will love you.

Ebooks give us the opportunity to find readers no matter how long it takes. Which is why I encourage experimenting.

If you aren't finding a readership, change your tactics. And keep writing.

Mark Edward Hall said...

Thanks for the great post, Joe, and for the years of inspiration. A year ago I put my novella, The Hero of Elm Street, a sappy ghost story, which is not my usual genre, up on KDPS for five days as an experiment. I was stunned when more than 30,000 copies were downloaded and for the month following it sold more than 9000 copies. I removed it from KDPS after that and uploaded it to smashwords. Sales since then have been less than stellar. I'm thinking of pulling it from smashwords and trying it on select again.
I had good luck last month on KDPS with my supernatural thriller Apocalypse Island and am waiting impatiently to give it another go. I also have two new books that I'll be adding to KDPS this month. The future has never looked brighter.
Thanks again for the numbers and the inspiration.

Bradley J Milton said...

Update: after Huck Milton went free (experimental literary), I was mentioned today by Margaret Atwood and the Paris Review.

I believe this works.

Bob said...

KDP has been hit or miss for me also. We "accidentally" put two back to back free and they fed off each other we did really well. But we tried to do it again and the results weren't as strong.

I've had my first book come out from 47North and the results have been solid--- it hit #1 on UK Kindle science fiction to a price promo Amazon ran.

What I'm really looking forward to is a long relationship with Amazon. I've got 2d title coming out in July and third at end of the year. And I'm hoping there will be much more beyond that-- one thing that's different is I don't see me running into the "higher sell through, lower print run" deal that traditional publishing killed the midlist with. They've certainly invested money in my books, but I think their overhead is a lot lower since the preponderance of sales are eBooks.

Robert Jennings said...

Joe, you inspired me to self-publish my first book, so thank you. I stuck it in KDPS, strapped on my unrealistic expectations, and set the price to free. Unfortunately, it didn't go quite as well I'd hoped (yet). During my free period, I gave away about 300 copies, and didn't sell squat afterward, which proves that you're dead on about your right book/right place/right time theory.

Diane Kidman said...

As always, I feel charged up after reading your post. I experiment a lot with KDPS, and I'm actually getting better results than I used to. While I don't see the books climb as high and as fast up the bestseller lists as they used to do after a free promo, the giveaways are bigger and the sales are higher afterwards, so I'm happy. For me, two days seems to be the magic point for a promo. They always hit a high somewhere by the end of the first day or beginning of the second, then they slide down after that. I do promote the days on several free Kindle book sites, so perhaps that has more to do with that spike than anything else. (Incidentally, those sites work wonders for me. My ebooks usually crack the top 20 free kindle books list that way.) Thanks again, Joe! I love the inspiration...

Kiana Davenport said...

@Mark Edward Hall...Congrats Mark! Your books deserve a million readers! That day will come if we just keep hearkening to Joe's advice.

I put each of my Pacific Story collections on KDPS and my royalties for that month tripled. But, as Joe says I still don't like Admazon's exclusivity clause.

Happy writing, everyone! Kiana in Hawaii

Coolkayaker1 said...

Joe gives away tens of thousands of freebies and sells a few hundred copies? The prophets were right...the mass of garbage out in freebie land of e readers has brought the price of ebooks and buyer'd expectations of price to an all time low. It was bound to happen, and two years ago even Joe said it wouldn't, and it did.

So, on average, even prolific author Joe Konrath, sells books at what...about , what 75 cents per book? That's the average of all that you've given away then sold in your example, Joe. And that's not even your take...that's the average sake price when you factor in all the zeros.

It's a shame. I'm not on you about it...I'm lamenting it!

bettye griffin said...

That silence you hear is hundreds of writers rushing to enroll their books in KDPS...can't say I'm one of them, but as always, I appreciate Joe's generosity in sharing his results with all of us.

Good luck, folks!

Kate Madison, YA author said...

I don't know, I'd probably agree with Coolkayaker1. The very foreverness of ebooks will always drive price down as long as there is free simply bc there isn't an unlimited amount of time like there is shelf space.

People only have so much time to devote to reading. And there will always be desperate authors who don't need money, only validation for their work. And some of them will be good-- also the law of numbers.

At the very least, the freeness will perpetuate the system the traditional publishers moved to in the last decade--that of cutting out the midlist author and only putting money on the bestsellers.

Readers will do the same thing--only spending money on bestsellers occasionally but not shelling out anything to try someone new. Why would they when there so many free choices available.

jmtc.

Kate

Joe Konrath said...

Joe gives away tens of thousands of freebies and sells a few hundred copies?

A few hundred immediately after the promo.

I've sold 5500 ebooks so far this month, and 1650 borrows.

the mass of garbage out in freebie land of e readers has brought the price of ebooks and buyer'd expectations of price to an all time low.

I've raised the price on my novels to $3.99. Those are the majority of what is selling.

Why would they when there so many free choices available.

Seems like 550 people a day are disagreeing with you. At least the 550 a day that are buying my work are.

I don't see a cause for worry here.

Mark Edward Hall said...

Thank you, Kiana, very kind of you to say. And congrats about your sales tripling. I would have downloaded your free books but I already own them all. I agree, I don't like Amazon's exclusivity clause either, so most of my books are available elsewhere. But I always reserve a few for KDPS because, if nothing else, it's great exposure. It puts my books in front of readers that might never have taken a chance on me and as a result, some buy my other books. I know there are flamers on these blogs who say that those who give away books are stupid or naive, or even hacks. I think these idiots should stop being negative and start doing something constructive. For me KDPS has been a win win.

Anonymous said...

These numbers only apply to thrillers, horror, erotica...genre books. As Jane Friedman says, the kind of reader who goes into the paperback store and "buys them by the sackful" (based on the messages in the cover art). That's only one type of book, one type of reader.

If you broke all the numbers down by category it would probably be obvious.

Barry Eisler said...

Dude, so good to have you posting regularly again.

Having just gotten reverted my rights to my entire backlist from Penguin and Random House, I've been mulling over the KDPS option. One thing that makes it attractive right this moment, as an experiment if nothing else, is that I haven't yet uploaded the books to other retailers, which would save me the hassle of taking them down. If a KDPS free promo works, great; if not, I'll have only lost three months on other platforms, which isn't that long a time considering that, as someone once mentioned, ebooks are forever.

Anyway, congratulations again and so glad things are going so well!

Joe Konrath said...

Congrats on getting your books back, Barry!

Mark Edward Hall said...

Congrats on getting your rights back, Barry. Considering how well known you already are, I have no doubt that KDPS would work for you. More than likely bring you a throng of brand new readers.

bruceblake said...

Great post, Joe. Thanks.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is still value in the Select program. The challenge for writers with less of a platform is still having people find you and, with listing services changing their focus, it has become more difficult.
Promo requires some creativity. I did a recent Select free promo on the first book in my series and put the second book on sale at the same time. The key is, though, I advertised the sale in the product description of book 1 so that all the people who downloaded it knew. It worked great and both books continue to see a nice bump in sales three weeks later.

Damin J. Toell, Esq. said...

The mystery of your new pen name is the most exciting one thar I've experienced in a while!

Rob Gregory Browne said...

A very encouraging post, Joe. Thanks. I've heard a lot of naysayers about KDPS lately and I'm glad to see you're having some good success with it.

Cheryl Tardif said...

Excellent post, Joe, and I agree with your assessment of KDP Select. It still works! Though my numbers aren't as high as yours, I am still seeing an increase to my income--more than I would without Select.

KDP Select earned me over $210,000 last year, with 7 titles. In March 2012, CHILDREN OF THE FOG was #4 in the Top 100 Paid list - for 35 days - right under THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Two of my other titles also made that list.

This year, who knows? So far, so good.

I'm getting ready to release my next thriller on February 26th. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Best wishes and good luck with your new release in March. :-)

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

David Gearing said...

I really appreciate your no BS approach to the business and your total transparency and point of view on things.

I'll be honest, I'm sitting on something like 5 books that could go out soon, but I've been too intimidated by the big world out there.

So, from a newbie's standpoint, would you recommend someone trying someone else's method/track and adjusting accordingly depending on success?

Thanks for everything.

David

Alan said...

Possible scenarios :

1) Indie authors and all the publishers in the exception of Big 5 see the advantages of KDP Select and use it.

Consequence 1 : choice and availibility become too haphazard on the concurrence stores. Kobo, B&N and the ebook division of Apple go out of business, or become irrelevant.

Consequence 2 : the path is cleared for Amazon, which is not a charity business, to lower author's redevance as it wish.

2)People working as publishers reconvert as service providers for indie publishing. Only one or two of the Big 5 survive. Indie authors see the advantages of KDP Select and use it.

Same consequences as upward.

Sorry, guys, saying "I don't like Amazon's exclusivity clause" is not enough. You have to think about sustainable development, and not just for the next month.

Joshua James said...

I'm so glad you posted this now, I just put up a horror novel under a pen name and am about to do a free weekend giveaway... I hope it gets it a bounce.

If anyone wants to check it out, it's free Friday-Sun, and it's called CREATURES OF APPETITE:

http://www.amazon.com/Creatures-of-Appetite-ebook/dp/B00BC2BCI4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360817439&sr=1-1

Merrill Heath said...

Thanks for the info, Joe. As always, your willingness to share your numbers is appreciated.

I haven't had much success with KDPS. I've put up several titles over the last year and have had a fair number of downloads during the free offerings - interestingly mostly in Europe - but haven't seen any significant bounce afterwards. Nor have I gotten any reviews so I suspect most of the free downloads have gone unread.

My next novel will be released under a pseudonym since it will be in the sci-fi genre and very different than my mystery/suspense novels. I also plan to release a print version through CreateSpace along with the ebook.

I may go with KDPS initially, but I haven't decided. I don't like the exclusivity of the KDPS program. But I'm not sure why since 99% of my sales come from Amazon anyway. I do think you get better promotion from Amazon when you enroll in KDPS, so that's a consideration.

We'll see. It will be another 4 months before the new book will be ready to publish. That gives me time to figure out what I want to do regarding KDPS.

Ryan Casey said...

Joe - glad to know I'm not alone here.

I published my debut novel in November, so I'm a new name. I contacted all the relevant free promo sites and geared up for a big free promo at the end of January.

Results?

I was selling one or two books per week before the promo. During the promo, I gave away 11,000 ebooks. In the two days following the promo, I sold hundreds of books. I'm still selling at a steady rate now.

Conclusions?

KDP Select works just fine if you do your research. It's not as simple as just hitting 'free' and hoping for the best.

Ryan

Joshua James said...

I wonder if someone could tell me what the free promo sites are, I'd love to know... can anyone tell me?

thanks!

Aimless Writer said...

You are my hero. And a marketing genius.
I can only hope to live up to half of what you've done since I started following your career way back when you wrote that article for Writer's Digest about how you sold your first book. You're climb to the top is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

Jude Hardin said...

The prophets were right...the mass of garbage out in freebie land of e readers has brought the price of ebooks and buyer'd expectations of price to an all time low.

I think we're going to see the price of quality books go up, actually. There's no reason why indie authors with first-rate ebooks shouldn't be charging as much as their traditionally published counterparts. Well, they'll probably top out at $9.99, since that's the highest price for 70% royalties, but I can see that as the cover price and then various discounts from there.

STH said...

Joe,

First, I agree with Barry. Nice to have you back!

Second, can you go into more detail about your secret, stand-alone, pen name book? Because that’s amazing.

You’re saying that it is impossible for this book to piggyback on your other work? And Amazon is not pushing it with emails, etc…? You just put it on KDP and it crushed, just like that?

If I’m reading it right, that is the equivalent of one of the instant, lightning strike success stories. One book, huge success. Is that accurate?

Is there anything in particular about this book that you think is making that happen?

I had great success with King’s X on KDP in it’s first Xmas. The book is still steady, but has never had that kind of pop from KDP since.

But I also have never tried 5 days in a row. When you say it picks up steam, do you mean a lot? As in, most of the giveaways are on day 4 or 5?

Thanks as always

STH said...

"he mass of garbage out in freebie land of e readers has brought the price of ebooks and buyer'd expectations of price to an all time low.”

I don’t think so. I agree with Jude. But would also say that none of what other writers are doing really affects my ability to make a living or not.

People read books they WANT to read and they will pay for it. People also sample free books. But they won’t read the whole thing if sucks just because it’s free. If they like it, they may seek out more from that writer and pay for his/her other work.

If your book is "garbage” you are unlikely to succeed.

If you are good and productive, you can find an audience. Eventually. Or maybe even quickly. But there is always an audience for “good.”

The bottom line is, no one ever said earning a living doing this would be easy. That’s a straw man.

And of course there is a lot of “garbage” our there. That’s the new slush pile. And btw, there is plenty of garbage in the old slush pile, nothing is likely to happen to it there either.

Talent, skill, and determination will rise. Now readers will determine who has the goods. That’s the only real difference (huge as it may be).

Joshua James said...

Hey Joe,

did you promote the five day free period on your stand alone pen name book?

Joe Konrath said...

You’re saying that it is impossible for this book to piggyback on your other work? And Amazon is not pushing it with emails, etc…? You just put it on KDP and it crushed, just like that?

Yep. It is completely unrelated to me and my work. AFAIK, Amazon has never pushed it.

One book, huge success. Is that accurate?

I don't know if I'd call the success huge. It's made about $55k in a few months. It's nice, but I've done better.

My book The List has sold 250,000 copies. Endurance, Origin, and Trapped have all sold over 100,000.

I haven't done any promo for the pen name.

Joshua James said...

That's amazing, Joe, truly... do you think the genre you chose also plays a part in that?

STH said...

"I don't know if I'd call the success huge. It's made about $55k in a few months…"

No. That’s huge. For a “new author” with no backlist. That’s very huge. A far less likely success story, imo, than your other successes. Must be one hellof a “Good cover and Good Product Description."

I think maybe for a future blog, a closer look at this could be tremendous. I don’t know how you’d get around keeping it secret, I guess…

Anyway. Great story.

Jude Hardin said...

It's made about $55k in a few months.

Something's going on. Numbers like that don't just happen. From what I've seen, most AP titles don't do nearly that well, and they DO get quite a bit of promo.

Patrice Fitzgerald said...

Volume is the name of the game. Fifty titles to sell! Fabulous.

I have more books (shorts) to put out, but I keep getting busy doing other stuff... like writing. I'm going to pause after finishing my WIP and get some of the backlog out. Thanks for the inspiration, Joe.

Happy Valentine's!

Cristian said...

Nor fair Joe !! As a fan of your work eagerly awaiting the follow ups to your novels (I've read everything you've written as Kilborn / Konrath outside of the JD series - and will be starting on this shortly) I am intrigued by the fact that there is another book of yours out there that I don't know about...are you going to put me out of my misery and fess up the pen name or am I going to have to start some kind of investigation to find this thing? :-)

give me a genre...something...please !!! :-)

Skeptic said...

Joe Konrath wrote:

"It's made about $55k in a few months. It's nice, but I've done better."

If this worked for any good book, then every MFA program in the country would empty out by Monday. You would have thousands of writers doing these books. All the literary journals in the country would stop publishing, overnight, for lack of submissions...because writers would be uploading their stories and poetry to Amazon instead of to a journal that pays in "complimentary" copies.

There lies the rub. This is not fine art. Not that it ever said it was, and not to invalidate it, but we are talking about one certain type of book. Every example you've ever given has been for genre fiction. Nobody writing other types of work is making $5k on Amazon, to say the least of $55k.

I've seen what Select 2013 will do for the average book outside of these categories. With a few good reviews and some publicity (strong social networking, interviews, guest blogs, reviews) it's still a far way off from $55k. To put something up with no reviews and no publicity and make that much? You might get a five dollar bill.

Congrats on your success. I hope something even 1/10 of that level becomes possible for other books soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to agree with the doubters except have I missed the bit where JA Konrath said this new pen-name was a one-off upload? For all we know the mysterious pen-name might have a back-list of 25 books and tons of promo all over it to start with. Then it is conceivable that a new upload could make the sums being claimed.

For a one-off, with no promotion, no reviews, it seems unlikely because it will just go into the white noise, irrespective of blurb, or cover design, but I'm happy to keep an open mind because you never know...

Shawneda Marks said...

I love you. Happy Valentine's Day from a literary marketing and business admirer.

That is all.

Joe Konrath said...

From what I've seen, most AP titles don't do nearly that well, and they DO get quite a bit of promo.

I recall someone saying that success has a lot to do with luck. Who was it that said that? ;)

Sometimes a book takes off. Any speculation as to why is Monday morning quarterbacking.

I have no idea why some titles outsell others. To confuse matters further, a bestselling title one month is a weak selling title the next.

It's pretty much impossible to write a book and guess accurately how well it will do. Legacy publishers knew this for decades. Now indie authors are learning it.

I'm releasing a new Kilborn novel in a few months. I can predict it will do as well as the others, but it might not. Or it might do better. I have no idea, even though I have years of data.

The pen name is doing better than I expected. I'm sure, someday, it will be revealed. But for the time being, I have reasons for secrecy.

If someone doesn't want to believe the numbers I'm posting, so be it. I mentioned those numbers to show that it's possible for an unknown author to do well out of the gate without any big marketing or promotional push.

It's not only possibly. It happened. To me. Without using my name.

Why did it happen? Luck.

Joe Konrath said...

BTW, it's been 36 hours since I published this blog entry. Since that posting, Bloody Mary has made an additional $1362.

Michael Cain said...

Love the new covers.

Jude Hardin said...

Why did it happen? Luck.

So if promo isn't much of an issue, and it all boils down to luck, why even sign with an Amazon imprint? Why not keep all the rights to everything, and the 70% royalties?

I agree luck is a huge factor, but I'm just trying to figure out how anyone found your needle in a haystack with no brand and no promotion.

Ash Ronin said...

Crikey! The fifth Joe Konrath post this month has appeared in my Reader! Throughout January, I began to worry one of the big pubs had sent you a mail bomb for Christmas.

Glad to see some hard data on KDPS because as I get to know more indie authors, I see more of them rejecting KDPS or I see them doing something that I personally feel is dumb. 1-day giveaways. Nothing gets me more fired up than a 1-day giveaway that I notice the second day. :\

One day, when I'm successful at scribbling on paper the pretend shit in my head, I will need to drive down to Chicago and buy you a beer. :D

Douglas Dorow said...

I'll tell you Sunday if KDPS bounce back is there or not.

I know it won't be what it was a year ago, but it's still there. Just don't know how big the bounce will be or how long it will last.

You used to be able to just make your book Free and get a lot of downloads. Now, there are so many Free books you need to promote it via social media and sites that Free book lovers to seperate yourself from the herd. And leverage email blasters that hit readers of your genre.

Today, I had over 30,000 downloads and hit #1 Free on kindle. Two more days of Free and then see how visible I am to book "buyers" and now many real sales that translates to.

The game keeps changing and we need to figure out how to play.

evahudson said...

I found a great resource to access lots of free book promo sites via the VERY helpful self publishing podcast. If you love Joe you'll love Sean, Dave and Johnny.

I haven't used resource myself yet (I'm between promos) but these guys swear by it: Author Marketing Club.

STH said...

@ Douglas Dorow,

That’s quite awesome. Again, 1 book, no backlist. Huge numbers! Congratulations. Great cover too. I picked it up and am looking forward to reading it.

So, I never put much stock in the tools you mentioned. Mostly because I get email blasts every day and rarely even look at them. But you’re saying that such tools are accounting for some of this great promotion? Do you have an idea of how much?

I’d imagine a lot of it has to do with the genre and the fact that your book just looks absolutely dead-on for the audience. Like if I loved Michael Connelly and was late for a plane, I’d grab your book at the airport newsstand just based on the cover.
Great work.

Andy Gavin said...

Last year (March and June 2012) I did 2 free promos with my first novel and hit #2 and #4 on overall free sales with nice bounce back. I'm thinking about trying again - although it's annoying to pull my books from B&N as some other promos will do decent sales there.

Has anyone looked carefully at the effect of exit TIMING on bounceback? It seemed to me, that bounceback might be very effected by the position and momentum on the free list at the exact time you exit (and you can break a sale early via the KDP interface). I've been thinking that if you can catch it roaring up at the peak (in those high single digit overall free spots) that you might have better bounceback. But like the stock market, this is a tough thing to predict when it's running.

Douglas Dorow said...

@STH

Here's the experiment, I partnered with 2 other authors to promo each other on website, facebook, tweets, etc. during 3 days of KDPS Free.

So we launched Free together with pretty much the same message, used Author Marketing Club to contact sites that promo Free, we all got picked up by some of them, that used to make all the difference.

They both reached top 10 thriller after day 1. I reached #1 kindle Free. They had 3,000 downloads each, I had 30,000. Where did the extra 27,000 come from? BookBub email blast that I paid for, targeted at readers of my genre that want Free books.

That probably wasn't the entire 27,000, but enough to move me up to top 10 early in different categories, which gets you more visibility, which leads to more downloads, it's a snowball effect.

Will it work for everyone? Probably not. I have a good cover, a good number of reviews and I've developed a lot of author / reader relationships the last two years. But paying for the "right" blast will improve you being seen.

Now we'll see what Sunday brings. I'm sure to make back the money I paid for the ad plus more, so I'm happy.

And hopefully some new fans that will buy the next books I'm writing and plan to release soon.

STH said...

@ Douglas,

Thanks very much for the detailed response. Very interesting. I’m going to go check into BookBub.

Good luck!

Karen said...

I read quite a few of the comments posted and didn't come across this: What role do you believe reviews, good or bad, play in the success of an Amazon Kindle book? I know some readers love them and as an author I'd love to have hundreds of them, good or bad. However, when I offered my new YA novel, SEXTED! on KDP for free, I soon learned that Amazon's new review policy does not allow readers who download books for free to review the books. This might discourage writers to offer free books, since one goal would be to garner reviews. And, since free books draw readers/buyers to Amazon, doesn't this policy seem rather shortsighted?

Mark Edward Hall said...

Karen wrote: "I soon learned that Amazon's new review policy does not allow readers who download books for free to review the books."

When did this policy begin? I didn't know about it. I have lots of reviews from readers who downloaded my books for free.

Grace Brannigan said...

I'm two days into KDP select with my newest romance Treasure So Rare, Book 3 time travel, and this is the first time I've tried it with 8 other books in the wings. I can see already it does make a difference, having other books. It has brought Book 1 and Book 2 up in their ranking from 200,000's or so to the 40 and 50k's. So 3 more days to go and see what the end result is.

Anonymous said...

Karen,

I'd like to know, too. Add "real or fake" and I'd really like to know.

Russell Blake said...

I think I can offer an explanation for why your mileage varies, as well as why the vast majority of authors in Select aren't happy with their results.

Back around Black Friday I noted that the post-free bump I'm pretty familiar with, having run, oh, 30 or so free promos in 2012, had been substantially muted, and I posited that they'd changed the algorithms again. That's since been reinforced from my own roughly 8 free promos since then.

Basically, if you see enough downloads to make it into the top 40 or 50 overall free on Amazon, you'll see a bump in sales. For example, #1 free for two days, which would translate into around 35-40K downloads, should equate to around 1500 paid sales over the 3 to 4 weeks after the promo. But #5, which might be 27K downloads, might see more like 800-1000. By the time you get to #50, which might be 15K over a few days, you might see couple hundred additional sales, or less. It drops off precipitously from there, leading me to conclude that the algorithms have been de-tuned from where they were a year ago - you now see roughly 10% of the sales post-free as you would have in Feb, 2012. I know, because I've been #1 three or four times over the last 4 months, and in March of 2012, a #2 spot got me roughly 8K sales over 30 days, and now I'd expect to see 800-1200.

Which is fine. If you can regularly hit in the top 40 free, it's still well worth doing. The problem is that on any day, if you have, oh, say, 10K free books from eager authors, 9,950 of those aren't going to see much, or any, bump.

I wouldn't advise anyone who can't get into the top 50 or so overall to run a free promo, because it can actually hurt you - if you don't have a lot of titles, you don't see enough downloads to trigger the algos in your benefit, and you've just converted any paid sales into free downloads. This is especially true for authors who don't sell many books, or only have one or two books out.

So you, or I, or Crouch, or Nicholson, run a free promo, we'll land in that top 40, and usually in the top 10, so we win...for now. Everyone else? Not so much. Which again, is just the way it is. I didn't write the algos. I just speculate about them.

I tend to think the game changed a few days ago when Amazon issued its addendum for its affiliates, stating that if your site is pushing free books and sees over 20K free downloads via your affiliate links, you forfeit 100% of your revenue from affiliate fees for the month. That pretty much eliminates the model that's sprung up wherein 100 sites are touting free books. They now have to decide whether they are interested in doing so for free. My hunch is, mmm, not so much.

I believe that Amazon wants to discourage free from the reader side, because it's cutting into paid sales. That's the only way one can interpret the series of moves they've made, I think. Free now pays 10% or less what it did a year ago. They don't want sites pushing free anymore. Pretty clear.

Having said that, the question is how to best play the new new environment moving forward. I'll be watching it closely, as I'm big on promotions as part of operating my publishing business. With 20 titles now, I can afford to play with new ideas or try to milk the last hurrah of free, but I'd advise anyone not in that position to re-read my comments and consider the numbers. Never has the 1% benefiting while the 99% don't been clearer than with free promos now. Which is awesome if you're one of the 1%. I've been extremely lucky the market's received my work with enthusiasm. But if you're one of the 99%, I'd be very, very cautious of free, especially.

This will all get clearer over the next few weeks. In the meantime, congrats on your sales, and best of luck to all.

Mark Edward Hall said...

Interesting post, Russell. Thanks for the buzz kill. In all seriousness though, I suspected Amazon was fooling around with the algorithms.
Just a year ago I went free with my novella The Hero of Elm Street (A ghost Story)I gave a way 30,000 copies and without much promotion it sold around 9000 in the month following. Not bad, but I've had mixed success since then. I'm going to give it another go next month with my supernatural thriller Apocalypse Island. This time I will do some heavy promo including some paid spots. Thanks for the info.

Nancy Nuce said...

This was a very informative article. I appreciate the time and trouble you took to write it.

Ken Rossignol said...

Your sharing of your recent experience with Select made me decide to give it another go with several titles, as the market is extremely fluid. What happened the last three months may not predict the next three.
It may be that those who are paying for exposure on the free sites could find the new rules block them, so depending on the normal Amazon algos, as you said you did, could be just the ticket. We shall all find out.

Anonymous said...

Has any one published an ebook on SamEnrico self publishing?

Marc Murphy said...

Luck is the most important thing. There are lots of great books out there that never get lucky. The passive approach of writing and letting luck do it's thing makes sense when you consider the massive budgets required for a Hollywood-like movie campaign.

Most bigtime publisher invest little in marketing a new author until the book starts picking up steam on its own (or through your sweat). Publishing is still a crapshoot.

Write because you want to and you won't be disappointed!

Annica Rossi said...

Being a new author, I've been lurking in the shadows of your blog for quite some time trying to absorb all of the information here and use it in a meaningful way. With so little experience I never felt like I had anything valuable to add--until now. If anyone out there is considering Amazon's KDP Program, namely the Free Promotion days, please read the following.

On December 6th I self-published my first book on Amazon. It's a novella of approximately 36,000 words. I did so on a shoestring budget, doing the editing and formatting myself and only hiring for the book cover. For the first few days and several times after I ran Facebook ads, which by the way cost me more than any profit I could hope to make as my book was listing at 99 cents. However, the goal of my first book was to gain exposure and readership not to make money.

Between December 6th and January 26th I had around 500 sales in the U.S., but with my second book coming out soon I wanted to create a wave that I could ride into release day. So on the 27th I started my first free promotion to go from the 27th to today. I have to say that so far I've been blown away.

I sat back and watched as my numbers went from 0 to over 4000 downloads the first day. By the time I went to bed that night I had nearly broke the Top 100 free Kindle Books and was sitting at #127. In the morning I was shocked to see that I was at #83 and climbing. Fast. By the end of the night last night I had reached #23 in the Top 100 Free and #7 in Free Contemporary Romance. I figure this is not bad for an unknown author. If the big guys are getting over 20,000 downloads during a five day promo,(wink) and I already have over 10,000 U.S. in my first two days, I might be on to something.

Of course now I'm scrambling to get my second book in the series done. In hindsight I would have waited until it was finished and published, but like all newbies I'm learning as I go.

It's hard to say how these free downloads will translate into paid sales, however I have gained quite a few new Facebook fans and four new Amazon reviews so far. Fingers crossed!