Friday, 1 February 2013

Progress update - when giving away is fun!

Since I epublished my first book last May (2012) it sold about 10 copies per month. It wasn't making me any real money and watching the stats was getting a tad tedious. So I came up with a great idea: Why not just give it away and get more readers? So I did, and this is what happened.

Zero-ing it

 I popped over to Smashwords and reduced the price to zero. I watched it carefully to see what would happen. First, Smashwords pumped the price change out to Sony etc over a week or so, but nothing really happened. The book was hardly moving, just as before. I kept checking to see if Amazon had price-matched but my book always seemed to be at the original price. Sales remained unchanged.


Results

Then, early January, things began to happen. I accidentally discovered that my book had been downloaded about 25 times on Amazon US. I had been missing these figures because they are difficult to see when checking my account, as they are off the screen over to the right. I hadn't been scrolling the list sideways. In the UK just a handful of downloads were recorded.

And so began my addiction of checking the downloads every time I passed the computer. Watching those numbers grow and grow was too exciting to be ignored. And they did grow. I was soon in the top twenty and even top ten list in various categories, but then it began dropping down a bit before hovering around the #30 mark.

Author's page update

I quickly updated the book info on Amazon's book description, quoting various reviews and making the book more buy-able to viewers (to see what I mean, have a quick look at my Book Description and Editorial Reviews over at Amazon.com).

This worked, as the book began climbing again. By then end of January my book had been downloaded 155 times. That's 155 people walking around with my book on their device. The downloads were as follows.

Amazon.comx90
Amazon.ukx60
Smashwordsx5

That is an average of 5 books per day, which is continuing into February. I watched with glee as Amazon's automation began promoting the book as 'authors who viewed this book also viewed...' etc. The book also began climbing the categories I had put it in.
#1 in Law Enforcement, Amazon.com

The top spot

This morning, as I checked my book's progress, I yelled out and scared the wife. It was listed as #1 in Law Enforcement on Amazon.com. Let me say that gain, NUMBER ONE! Her only reply was, 'Yes dear, but that's because you are giving them away...' I had to explain to her that the other people who were competing against me were also giving them away, and that I was obviously doing a better job of giving them away than they were!

I have other things planned to improve this book's sales, and the follow-up books, which I will tell you about in due course.

So the groundwork has been set, and all I need to do now is get book two in the series out there, and hope that some of those readers of book one get around to leaving reviews, signing up for my newsletter and BUYING book two.

Fingers crossed.

2 comments:

  1. That's awesome. I'm thinking about giving free copies of my books as well. Writers want to be read, first and foremost. And this isn't a complete waste - you're building an audience for your next book

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nigel, DO IT! It's never been so much fun for me before!

      My book downloaded 150 copies in January (averaged 5 downloads per day) and for February the average so far is 7 per day, so it looks like I will surpass last months total.

      Pre-give away, it was selling about 7 per month. Now, in the last 6 weeks, over 300 people have seen my name, got a copy of my book and might even have actually read it!

      I'm still waiting for my first review to come in from the give-away though, and I'm busy putting the finishing touches to part 2 in the hope that some of these people will buy it!

      Whatever happens, it'd made me about $3 before, so I'm not losing anything, but I am gaining a lot of exposure - and it is FUN!

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