Archive for the ‘marketing’ Tag

A short update on numbers.

Ok, time for a quick update on where I am at with download totals. Overall 5,143! Much higher than I was expecting. That breaks down to:

Second Time Lucky? 1,607
Sovereign Nation 1,639
Chasing The Future 325
New Dawns, Season One, Collected Edition 738
New Chances (New Dawbs, Season One, Episode One) 767
New Dawns, Season One, other episodes 67

The vast majority of these are free downloads although there have been a few sales – downloads are overwhelmingly in the USA: 4,808 of the 5,143. I’m starting to get some ‘borrows’ too, I should probably start tracking them too.

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Why do you write? What are your goals as an author?

There are as many answers to these questions as there are authors but I think most authors can be broadly divided into two camps – the ones whose answers mention money and success a lot and those that don’t. I am one of the writers who does not mention money as a motivator – don’t get me wrong, I am not criticising those who do nor am I saying I wouldn’t like to be able to make a living doing what I love but it is not my key motivation.

If you go looking for advice about writing on the internet you are likely to find a lot about maximising sales and how you too can make thousands of dollars a month by just following some simple tips. The truth is that if you want to make a living writing your best bet is to work hard, put in the time writing anything and everything that makes money – magazine articles, novels in fashionable genres, non-fiction, anything you can sell. If you work at it hard enough, write enough and sell it well you stand a chance of making a living at it. Don’t let anyone criticise you for doing it either, if it works for you then go for it.

If you want to make a fortune as a fiction writer with work you genuinely believe in, the works of fiction you love and have carefully crafted and poured your heart and soul into, then your best bet may be prayer to your deity of choice. The truth is that this only happens for a tiny minority of writers. It would be marvelous if it would happen for all of us but the reality is that it probably won’t.

So, if you can’t make a lot of money or be offensively rich and famous, if you can’t even make a living at it then why bother? Simple. Because you are a writer. It is something you are, not something you do. Even the people who seem to be writing anything they can to make money are doing it because they love writing, they are just more felxible about what they are willing to write.

Sure, if you are like me then the books you publish will not be much in the way of sales and even your free downloads won’t be anything to get over excited about. However, if you would be writing them anyway you might as well publish them online – it is free to do and gives you a new hobby, checking download numbers, which will give you a few days of joy and many days of self doubt. Of course, if you are a writer self doubt is an old friend so you’ll enjoy that.

Why do I write? Largely because I can’t stop myself, I am writing stories in my head all the time so I sometimes have to force them out onto the page.

What are my goals as a writer? To keep writing, it is just that simple.

Failure to Launch.

No, not the awful rom-com. That is a movie so bad I think it may technically qualify as a crime. Instead I am talking about the launch of my latest book, New Dawns, which collects the serial I published recently.

For the launch two promotion were booked in, one was booked on 23rd November and the other on 28th November, both through fiverr.com. The first I have used before and confirmed I was booked in for 5th December, the other I haven’t used before and I have not heard a word from. Neither put anything up yesterday. Neither replied to questions about when the promotions would go live yesterday.

End result, no sales whatsoever.

So, a total failure of a book launch. The big problem is that you can never get back that launch day feel and the promotional value of it. Hopefully they will get back to me today, or at least soon, and run the promotions but it is a big missed opportunity. Isn’t it annoying when things out of your control wreck your plans? I guess I should have remembered the old saying ‘Men make plans and God laughs.’

Serial Fiction

The final part of New Dawns, Season One, went up on Amazon on Friday. First time I have published a novel in serial form and the first time I have written a Christmas story to finish off a book. The collected version will be out in a couple of weeks (on 5th December) so I need to work out how best to market that and see what sort of download numbers I can get.

What have I learned from writing a serial? First and formost, if I am going to commit to a publishing schedule then I need to have everything written first or specific time set aside to write that cannot be taken over by other things. Everything but the final part was ready to go when I set it all up, the final part was tough to write as I had no time to do it and a commitment to get it out in the same schedule as the rest.

Secondly, serial fiction is a complex beast and very different from writing a novel or short story. Each individual part of a serial must be a satisfying story in itself. Not necessarily stand-alone as it is part of an ongoing narrative but a satisfying read on it’s own. Did I manage this with New Dawns? Probably not with every part. Honestly, New Dawns would probably have worked better as the first novel in a series. In any future serials I will try to think more like a TV series – the first part is the pilot and the others the individual episodes. New dawns was possibly more like a mini-series – one story split into parts – and the individual episodes should probably have been longer and thus fewer in number overall.

Will there be more New Dawns? Sure there will, there are a million more stories I can tell in that setting but I need to work out the best way to tell them. For now, I am ready to move on to the next idea and see where I end up with that. Will it be another serial? That will very much depend on the idea.

Sales and downloads.

In the past I’ve put up a lot of information about sales and downloads but recently I haven’t updated on the last few promotions – increased busyness in real life reduced time to post updates! Instead I thought I’d put up some total figures as they might be of interest.

A bit of history to start with, publication dates.
Second Time Lucky? and Sovereign Nation went up in mid-to-late September 2013.
Chasing The Future went up on Amazon in July 2014.
The various parts of New Dawns went up in October 2014, with another part going up the end of this week and the final one going up when I have finished writing it.

Second Time Lucky? total downloads: 1,153 (1,146 free, 7 sales).
Sovereign Nation total downloads: 1,243 (1,221 free, 22 sales).
Chasing The Future total downloads: 325 (320 free, 5 sales).
New Dawns (all parts) total downloads: 474 (458 free, 16 sales).

Overall total downloads: 3,195 (3,145 free, 50 sales).

Broken down by country:
2,929 in the USA.
162 in the UK.
30 in Germany.
22 in Canada.
14 in Italy.
8 each in France, India and Australia.
6 each in Spain and Japan.
2 in Brazil.

In just over a year that is 3,195 total downloads! Way above what I would have expected. Yes, it is mostly free downloads but I don’t care about that. Even assuming that the highest downloads (Sovereign Nation) are unique readers and that every other download has come from subsets of them that means over 1,200 people have read something I have written. At least I can be sure it is too many for it to just be friends and family!

New Chances free promo results.

New Chances went up for a free promo on Friday, the idea being that people would download it and then by the second part, New Beginnings. As a free download it was a success – 213 in a day. As a way to get people buying part two, not so much a success – no sales of part two. So next week I am trying running free promos for New Chances (15th to 18th October) and New Beginnings (16th to 20th October) with part three, New Homes, launching on 17th October. Will there be any cross promotion? Wait and see, I guess.

Chasing the future, my novella sequel to Sovereign Nation, will also be eligible for a free promotion again this coming week. Sovereign Nation has been a bit more successful so maybe it is worth putting this up for a free promo too? I will have to think about it, how to market a sequel is a new puzzle to solve.

New Chances Launch Results.

So I launched the first part of my new serial on Friday, New Chances is the first part of New Dawns Season One. I priced it at $0.99 / £0.77 and booked in three promos for it. It has sold 7 copies (and one Kindle ‘borrow’) since launch. Not exactly flying off the virtual shelves.

But, I have a plan. This Friday part two goes live so I am going to make part one free for one day only, with a Bknights promotion. Will free downloads of part one lead to sales of part two or pre-orders for the other parts? I have no idea, I guess I will find out Friday.

Final free promo results!

Ok – the free days are over, the promos have run their course, it has all gone quiet. So, how did it go? The final download figures are below:

Second Time Lucky (23rd to 27th September)
USA
23rd 592
24th 176
25th 47
26th 42
27th 28
Total: 885

UK
23rd 6
24th 3
25th 0
26th 1
27th 1
Total: 11

Elsewhere: 9

Total overall: 905

Sovereign Nation (26th to 30th September)
USA
26th 197
27th 241
28th 220
29th 80
30th 162
Total: 900

UK
26th 7
27th 7
28th 8
29th 2
30th 4
Total: 26

Elsewhere: 24

Total overall: 950

First conclusion – I really just need to focus on the USA as a market! Second conclusion – Bknights promos work better for free books than for $0.99, by quite a significant factor. Genrepulse’s Fiverr promo seems to be ok but doesn’t provide as big a boost as Bknights. I am unconvinced by Authorchathost’s Fiverr promo, they assure me they promoted the books where they said they would but I couldn’t see them and I didn’t see any uplift in downloads either.

All in all a massive success in terms of numbers though. Both books getting over three and a half times the number of free downloads they’d had in the previous year in the course of a week!

I think as a minimum a Bknights promo can be justified every time the books go free. Now I just need to see what happens when my new serial launches on Friday!

Promotion Of A Free Book – Experiment And Results, Part One.

Ok, I admit it. I am converted. I now believe in paid promotion for my books, even if I am still trying to get it as cheap as I can.

My crime novella Second Time Lucky went free on Tuesday with two of the promotions bknights put up on Fiverr. Before the promotion total downloads 247, of these 241 were free and 6 paid. Here’s the promo so far (as usual, all times are GMT):

23/09/2014 (19:18 – Bknights promos go live)
UK
14:20 (1 download)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,262 Free in Kindle Store
#9 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English
#11 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir

16:09 (still 1)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,784 Free in Kindle Store
#8 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir
#8 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English

21:23 (5 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,607 Free in Kindle Store
#15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir
#83 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

DE
14:20 (1 download)
Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #31.706 Kostenfrei in Kindle-Shop

16:09 (2 downloads)
Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #2.395 Kostenfrei in Kindle-Shop
Nr. 29 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Krimis & Thriller > Krimis

JP
14:20 (1 download)
Amazon Bestseller Rank: Who knows, it is in Japanese!

USA
16:09 (0 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,394 Free in Kindle Store
#15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir
#83 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

17:46 (3 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,394 Free in Kindle Store
#15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir
#83 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

21:17 (258 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,607 Free in Kindle Store
#15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir
#83 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

21:49 (278 downloads)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,155 Free in Kindle Store
#8 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English
#9 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir

24/09/2014

USA (575 downloads)
06:22
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410 Free in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir

12:34 (617 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343 Free in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir

16:34 (658 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366 Free in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir

21:31 (699 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493 Free in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir

UK (6 downloads)
06:22
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,168 Free in Kindle Store
#5 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English
#7 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir

12:36 (7 downloads)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,186 Free in Kindle Store
#5 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English
#7 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir

16:37 (8 downloads)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,611 Free in Kindle Store
#5 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir
#5 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English

21:33 (9 downloads)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,863 Free in Kindle Store
#5 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Noir
#7 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > English

JP (2 downloads)
06:22

CA (1 download)
12:38
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,067 Free in Kindle Store

25/09/2014
USA (768 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743 Free in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir

15:55 (780 downloads)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794 Free in Kindle Store
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
#4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir

As I sit here typing this it is at 797 free downloads, in two and a half days that is over 3 times what I have got in the last year! The same promos got me a handful of sales at $0.99 / £0.77 so it is safe to say they work better with a free book.

Ok, I know they are sub-categories but that is two number 1’s, my first in any sub-categories!
Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Literature & Fiction
and
Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
with a number 3 in
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime Fiction > Noir
Way better than I have achieved with Second Time Lucky before, in fact better than I have achieved with any of my work before.

Second Time Lucky is free for today, Friday and Saturday too so there should be a few more downloads but I’m expecting it to tail off a bit now. Then again, Sovereign Nation goes free tomorrow with different promotions set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and there might be some downloads from people who get that. After this I’ve got high hopes for the Sovereign Nation promotion, it is a full novel for free after all.

Updates will follow.

New Dawns – Season One of a new Romantic-Christian-Science-Fiction serial!

New Chances is the first episode of season one of my new serial, New Dawns, and it goes live on 3rd October! New episodes will launch weekly after that, six in total so far. They will be followed by a Christmas special and, eventually, a collected edition.

Writing a serial is new for me so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Season Two will follow as soon as I’ve got all the ideas together and actually sat down and written it!

The blurb for Season One is below:

The Earth is dying. Humanity’s only hope lies in moving to a new home, the worlds orbiting a gas giant that is a two hundred year journey away. New lives await the first colonists, if they can overcome the weight of their pasts on Earth.

Carl and Martha travel with their teenage children, hoping a new world can help them rebuild their marriage. Their children will need to find new ways to live their lives away from the technological devices that run the overcrowded city they come from.

Jordan fights to escape her past, to find a new role and a new place away from the troubles she is leaving light years behind her.

Carlton and Jacqueline travel in the lap of luxury, transferring their powerbase from Earth to the new colonies. They will remain part of the ruling elite of humanity, they will preserve their wealth. At least, that is what they think.

Father Josiah, an ordinary Catholic priest, leads a pilgrimage to the new worlds. A pilgrimage that will bring him more than he knows.

Mark is an ordinary pilgrim, a man looking for a simple life. His journey will be tougher than he thinks and bring a reward he does not expect.

Together they experience good and bad times, romance and friendships, hardships and troubles as they travel toward a new dawn for mankind. Some will find their journey causes their faith to strengthen, some will find their faith shaken, some will discover faith anew in their new lives.

New Chances is the first episode of Season One of New Dawns, a series of short stories and novellettes (4,500 – 8,500 words) that tell the story of humanity’s new life on new worlds.