Monday, January 9, 2012

Amazon...Because I'm Worthless?

Strangely, I'm not in this picture

This weekend was a perfect storm of ebook marketing research, from which I was able to draw one clear, immediate conclusion: My Books are Worthless.

Let me explain.

1. Amazon started a new program for its authors called "KDP Select." Under this program, you sell your ebook exclusively on Kindle (i.e., not on Nook) for 3 months. In return, you get to...offer your book for free five days in that 3-month period. Huh? As far as I could see, they offered no publicity for you. Just the chance to make ZERO off your book for five days. I know--you can't blame me for being tempted. I signed up Everliving and took it off Nook.

2.I've mentioned before that sales of all my books slowed to a trickle, making me think that my more-than-self-sustaining "hobby" was going to become like most hobbies, a drain on the wallet. If that was going to be the case, I wanted to see if price was an issue. Were people unwilling to try a new author (or a friend's latest book) because $2.99 was a deal-breaker??? Far be it from me to stand between people and great beach reads for the price of a cup of coffee.

3. I scheduled Everliving to be free on Kindle Saturday, January 7 and Sunday, January 8. Then I sent off emails to my favorite bargain Kindle book sites, DailyCheapReads, Pixel of Ink, and Kindle on the Cheap. It turned out only Kindle on the Cheap sent out an announcement, the other two sites perhaps being up to their necks in free ebooks and not in need of another.

4. On Saturday, January 7, Kindle on the Cheap posted about Everliving, and the "sales" started rolling in. I didn't check every hour, but the sales ranking peak I noticed at 7:09P was #160 on the Free list in Kindle/ #6 in Contemporary Fiction/ and #41 in Romance. These are stratospheric heights for a small-peanuts author like me, and the ranking translated to 2,772 copies "sold" on Saturday. (Royalties = $0)

5. On Sunday, January 8, the Kindle Nation Daily promotion I had scheduled back in June finally ran (five days after it was originally scheduled to run, which meant that, instead of getting a sales spike at $2.99, I got the sales spike at $0). The "Weekender" emailing ensured that Everliving stayed in the rankings. Again, I didn't check all the time (because I was watching the Broncos-Steelers game), but I caught a 1:11P sales ranking peak of #118 in Free in Kindle/ #4 in Contemporary Fiction/ and #30 in Romance. Yay! This translated to "sales" of 1,197 copies. Again, Royalties = $0.

What can I conclude from all this? That a few thousand people, with prompting, are happy to give my book a try for free, but far fewer are willing to do so at $2.99. I suppose some of the free-readers might so fall in love with me that they read my other books, but on the other hand, why bother, if they can just move on to the next free ebook? Who wants to fork out $2.99, if there are a bazillion free books to read?

Don't get me wrong--I love free books as much as the next person. There's a reason I'm trolling those sites and get most books at the library. But as an author, it does make me think I could do much, much better if I bagged groceries at the local market.

Oh, well. Back to Chapter 27 of the WIP...


  1. I read my first Candace Hern Regency romance as a free download, and have since read every one of her Regencies, $1.99 be darned! I think you'll need to give it a couple of months. If MBC & TLD sales don't jump a bit by Easter, I will be surprised.
    Then again, I have read several dozen free reads in the past year, and Ms. Hern is one of two I have bothered to pay for in follow-up reads.

  2. Hang in there, dear Christina! These readers might purchase your next book. And they may be intrigued about your previous books. In the end, it is all good. It never hurts to have new readers on board.

  3. Thx for the encouragement, you two. In the day after it went off free and skyrocketed (sarcasm) to $2.99, it still sold a couple dozen copies, so all is not lost. :)