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The Amazing Million Dollar Ebook Update: July Sales

Amazing new stupendous ebook developments this month!
Okay, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement, but I have discovered that "free" sells. Or at least it leads to numerous downloads. About the middle of June I made this book free on iBooks and Smashwords:

And now it's free on Kindle (just click the above image but click right now because this offer is only good for 12 10 9 minutes--kidding, I was going all slap chop on ya). There is a trick to this because you can't actually just choose "free" on Kindle. Instead Amazon will set your price to the same as the competition. So once Amazon "noticed" that Draugr was free on other websites it automatically made it free on Amazon kindle. Even though I'd read about other people having "free" success, it isn't until you see it for yourself that you believe it. The book became free on Kindle somewhere around July 6th. Within a day it had shot up the "free" charts to as high as #52. By that time there had been 2000 downloads. In the next two days there were another 3000 downloads. Then it began to drop out of the top 100 and the downloads have slowed to about 100 a day so that the total for July is 7402 copies. To put this in perspective the book first came out in 1997 and sold 5000 copies in the space of a year. It took 4 days to "sell" that same amount for free. So Amazon's distribution model really does work (no surprise, eh). In that same time only about 80 copies were downloaded free on iBooks and 0 on Smashwords. What? You want to see a chart? Okay!

This chart shows the # of total sales I've made in the last six months (it's the tiny column second from the right) and the green column is the total free books I've given away. Now how to get those "free" people to buy books? Ah, there's the rub and the dub (and why I did the little experiment). I hope that over time there will be an increase in the sales of the other two books in the series:

Aren't they cute? Don't you just want to take them home and cuddle them (on your eReader that is)? Anyway, my theory is that this massive # of downloads will lead to more sales of these two books in the next few months as people read Draugr. Or those thousands of copies of Draugr might sit unloved on people's kindles. Poor electronic words...just waiting to be read. I was pleasantly surprised that there was an immediate increase: Drang sold 4 copies in June and jumped to 18 copies in July on Kindle. Loki sold 7 copies in June and leapfrogged to 16 copies in July on Kindle. So that's a nice increase for both the books. Obviously, I'm not going to get rich from that (it is an extra $69.36 in my pocket, tho, since I make 2.04 per book--they sell for $2.99).

But what about my total sales you ask? Ah, I knew you wanted to see another chart. Consider yourself charted:



As you can see by that chart sales stayed steady for July. Here are the totally exciting numbers:

Feb: 12
March: 43
April: 377
May: 274
June: 139

July: 148
So there hasn't been a huge jump. In fact DUST sold 77 copies on Kindle in June and 79 in July. Gee, that is consistent! I still plan on keeping DUST at .99 cents until I've sold 1000 copies (it's at 727 right now). As a point of interest 126 copies of my books were sold on Kindle this month and 21 on B&N (0 on Smashwords and 0 on iBooks--hmmm guess buying every Apple product in existence doesn't help e-book sales). I don't know what that means other than, well, Kindle is king obviously. The good news is I've nearly sold 1000 copies in total. That should happen next month. Oh, and I haven't included Kobo numbers in this because they don't send me my report until mid way through the month...but I only expect 4 or 5 more sales through them.


By this point I had hoped I'd be making enough money to be on a beach somewhere with my feet up while I hired retired ewoks or sasquatches to bash out my novels. I mean isn't that what the internet promised? Easy riches? But I'm satisfied with chugging along. I've done all the experiments that I can think of so far (other than releasing a brand new book--which is in the works) but I may make other books free (there is a theory that if you make a book free and then switch it to "paid" status it will jump up the charts--there are many theories in the e-book biz, I'm finding. Amazon.com is like a bunch of pig entrails that we're all staring at to find the future).

Anyway, it's still fun. And yo! Look over there--it's a  another rainbow to chase!

Cheers,

Author

Jolted: Measuring Success using Bookscan, Amazon Rankings, and NovelRank

If you're an author you've probably checked your Amazon rankings once or twice. Or every three seconds. And, perhaps you've stared at the rankings like you're trying to read your future in pig entrails. The great thing about the "modern" era is now there are even more ways to track things. Most of the time they're just charts that you stare at and learn nothing (and perhaps a little depressing) but I was recently able to track a "success" story to do with the my novel Jolted.


On May 17th or so the novel was chosen for  2011-2012 Florida Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award master list. This was great news. But because Amazon recently allowed authors (through their Author Central program) to see their Bookscan details, I was able to track the actual sales of the book from that day forward (I'm only concentrating on the paperback):


As you can see from the map, the darker the colour, the more sales. So obviously sales of the paperback had really taken off in Florida (and in one tiny corner of Louisiana...for some reason). The chart below shows the sudden increase in sales in bookstores in the U.S.:


For those of us who are chart obsessed (and really who isn't) Amazon also provides another chart to stare at (for hours at a time sometimes). This chart shows the uptick in sales through Amazon. So obviously the sales in the "ground" stores were also being reflected at the "virtual" store that is Amazon.


The final chart that I'll inundate you with is from Novelrank which also tracks sales on Amazon. It essentially gives you the same information, but with a slightly different appearance. Novelrank also can keep track of the # of copies sold per month (though this is a guesstimate on their part).

Perhaps I should end this with a chart of my geekiness (no, I better not...that would be jumping the shark). The sales in this time period might only amount to a thousand copies (so I won't go out and buy a new car), but I do find it interesting that I now have the ability to track all of this information. I won't know the actual sales until I get my royalty statements about six months from now. How to use the information is perhaps the tougher part of this exercise. It's not like I can fly down to Florida (or Louisiana) and start pitching my book (though I am beginning to get requests for Skype visits in Florida). Right now I'm filing it under the title: Interesting to know.

Plus, Jolted has been out for nearly 4 years now. It's nice to see it suddenly get zapped back to life (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Art