01 January 2013

The Great Experiment -- Latest News

Sorry, I got busy and haven't posted in a while. I'll work on that from now on. Especially now that things are heating up a bit.

So, I return with news of the Great Experiment and other interesting tidbits.

While I was very happy with my success on Salt of the Earth, I found a lot better success with another book published by Edin Road Press -- Lorrieann Russell's My Brother's Keeper. We had already published her first book, By Right of Blood. So, all I had to do was put things into play and run with it.

The ebook of MBK was published at the first of the month through KDP  Platform and automatically submitted for KDP Select -- although I had to jump through a few hoops to prove that I really was the publisher and the rights to publish this book. I resolved that by sending a copy of the contract and showing them that I'd already published one of her books. They were satisfied and all went through smoothly.

The next step was setting up the Free Promotion for BROB to help promote MBK, which I set up for Dec 15 - 17.  You get five days of promotion every three months, so I set up two. The first for three days and the second for the other two, right around Christmas and the day after for all of those who got a Kindle for a present. The idea was to give a free download of the first book and hopefully, sell a few of the second.

The next step after that was to get notifications to as many sites as possible that notify their readers about the free promotion. A blog site was mentioned to me with links to all of them, Rachelle's Window: Promo Sites. The more notice you give them, the more likely that you'll appear on their mailing lists and promotion pages. So plan on at least 2 - 3 weeks in advance of the promotion.

After that, I held my breath and waited to see what would happen next.

I have to tell you, the success was astounding -- 7700 downloads for that first weekend. Of those 7700, 46 people also paid for their copies of MBK. For the Christmas promo, BROB had another 1000 downloads and more sales of MBK. I could literally go back into the reports area and see the numbers rise.  We ended the month with a total of double digit sales for both books and double digits for those who borrowed the book in the Kindle Only Lending Library -- I can't give more details, because they're not my books. If they were mine, you'd get the full monty, I promise. And when my next book, The Savior, comes out, I'm going to be doing all of this for myself and you will know everything. But for now, trust me when I tell you that she's going to be getting a very sizeable royalty check next month. And I'm reassessing the rest of our library as to whether or not we move all of our ebooks from Smashwords to KDP Select.

For now, what have I learned about this? Well...

1. KDP Select is worth the trouble of giving Amazon sole distributor rights for a time period. Will I eventually reopen our books for distribution elsewhere? Sure. But for right now, the sales numbers on Amazon vs the sales numbers on other booksellers' sites just don't warrrant it. We've sold more of our books on Amazon than anywhere else. A book here, two books there vs a hundred or so on Amazon? You do that math and tell me.

2. To paraphrase the real estate mantra, the key to ebook sales success is KEYWORD, KEYWORD, KEYWORD. Listing your book in the correct genre and finding the right keywords means the difference between incredible success and languishing in obscurity. The good news is that it's trial and error, and you can change things as you go along. But finding that magic formula is a boon for your book. Do your homework.

3. Series are the big thing! I never would have thought that, but they are. Are you writing a book series? You are ahead of the game. And it makes things so much easier and makes your books more attractive to readers. Plus, a freebie will attract them to buy the next books in the series. And when you have enough books in the series out -- usually about the 3rd or 4th -- you can make that first book a free read permanently and it becomes an even MORE attractive read.

   Now, does that mean you should go write a series just to make money? Hells no, and it's a stupid idea. Come on, get real -- readers are gonna know a knock off in the first chapter. You write a series because you have too much to say in one book and you love being with your characters enough to write more about them. You write a series because it's right for the story, not because it's right for your pocket book. Okay? We got that clear?

4, Maybe I'll never get rich but I can certainly reach an audience and I can entertain them with my fancies. Rich was never an option for me and certainly not my goal. If I can make a living writing full time, I would love that. And that will come in time -- I'm being positive here -- but for now, I will enjoy having readers sharing the experience with me. That's my goal. That is when I call myself a success.

So, next up in the pipeline is The Savior. I want it up in time to promote for Easter holiday. I'm halfway through the rewrite/edit/polish and a February 28th publication date is doable. One more time, I'll put Salt of the Earth up as a free read to promote since they're both of a nature -- looking at the philosophy of religion and beliefs. And The Great Experiment starts all over again. After what I've learned, I can't wait to see what happens.



Unknown said...

Jesse, these great results mirror Jennifer's and others.

I think as an indie, an author/publisher has to experiment, find what works, and then repeat and repeat and repeat.

Great post. And I seriously hope these techniques pay off your authored titles as well.

JVRC said...

Thanks, Donna. I think they will help my own books. I working on growing that ego.