KDP Select; 2 genres, 2 outcomes Part 2

7 Feb

In part 1 I discussed how I Wish was doing in the day immediately following coming off the free list. Yesterday marked the end of my second full day of being paid. It was significantly better than the first. At one point my stats looked like this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

They’ve dropped some since then, but not so much that I’d complain. It’s interesting to me to note that the categories change from time to time. I thought you could only be in 3 categories at a time, but it actually appears you can be in several, they’ll just list 3 at once.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I’ve noticed that I sell a lot more books in the evening than I do during the day. But then so does everyone else because despite selling as many as 65 books in an hour, I didn’t move at all. Here’s the breakdown so far.

Day 1 – 48 sales, 22 lends

Day 2 – 234 sales, 56 lends

Day 3 (so far) – 223 sales, 19 lends

Total – 505 sales, 97 lends

And I feel like it’s significant enough to mention again, I’m priced at $4.99. I am so glad that I stayed the course on that because if I had dropped my price to $2.99 or $.99 I would have attributed all my sales to the price rather than whatever book mojo I have going on right now and wouldn’t have considered changing it back at all for fear of losing sales. Maybe I would have a higher rank if I dropped my price, but I’d be trading on my belief that a book is worth more than a pack of gum. It’s just reassuring to me that people are still wiling to pay book prices for a book.

I’m not trying to start a pricing debate or anything. I just think it’s interesting enough to bear mentioning. When conducing your own KDP Select experiments, you might consider a higher price point.

Is KDP Select a magic bullet? Well, it certainly was for I Wish, but I don’t think it’s universally true as evidenced by the other book I have in the program.

I put one of my adult titles in Select and immediately started the free days. I let it run last Wednesday and Thursday and then took it down for the weekend because I read somewhere that those are the busiest buying times. It’s free again now and will be until Wednesday night.

To say it’s not doing as well as I Wish would be a gross understatement along the lines of saying that trying to hug it out with an angry grizzly bear while kicking her baby in the face is a good idea.

This title had a lot of early success, selling hundreds of copies a month, but it’s tapered off until recently it’s only been selling between 10-20 copies a month. It’s the first in a series so it seemed like a prime candidate for the program. After 3 full days in the program and including any sales (because I haven’t been tracking it very well), it’s sitting at 607 downloads. It’s enough to put it at #510 in the free store and #61 in the erotica category. I think if I hadn’t already seen what free could be like in ideal circumstances, I’d have been delighted with this progress.

So far I haven’t seen any huge surge in sales. Not of the book itself this weekend and not of the other titles in the series. I’ve still got a couple of days of free left before I can say for sure what might happen, but it just doesn’t appear that it’s going to take off the way I Wish did. I’ll admit that I’m surprised because it’s always sold so much better than I Wish and you always hear how sex sells. At this point I’m having hard time even giving it away.

Conclusions:

  • The Select program can launch a book to high sales, but a lot of factors have to align to make that happen. Being picked up by sites like Pixels of Ink is huge.
  • Don’t put a book in if you are selling well outside of Amazon. Unless your book takes off, and it might not, you’re going to lose all that income and alienate those reader.
  • There are a lot of things to be gained (aside from sales, although that’s an awesome thing too) from going free no matter how you achieve it. I’m on a lot of new Also Bought lists, I’ve gained 6 new reviews, and I have almost 16k new readers who now have the chance to become invested in my series and buy the next two books. If I’m lucky these new readers might blog about me or recommend my book to their friends so the possibility exists now that I could go viral. Realistically I know that won’t happen, but “might” is so much more attractive to me than “never”, which was the case before.
  • If you only have one book and know that you’ll be releasing another soon, wait for that before you go free. I’ve had so many hits on my blog from people looking for Your Word is My Bond. If they are willing to go to the trouble to search for it, they were probably also likely to buy the book. Except, surprise! The book isn’t available yet. D’oh! Seriously, wait. You’ll be happier if you do.

It’s too early for me to say what I think about the KDP Select program. It’s been helpful to me and to many others and if you have nothing to lose by enrolling than why not? But it’s a total crap shoot. Nobody knows why some books take off and others don’t and it’s impossible to predict if your book will be one.

I am a little worried about what the influx of free books will mean in the long term. As customers become accustomed to having all they can read for free, they might save their purchases for a few of the heavily hyped traditionally published books that they’ll never get for free. A savvy shopper will be able to figure out that their favorite author has all their books enrolled in the program and will sooner or later have them all available for free and just wait until a free day to pick up their entire backlist.

I do think that in a few months so many books will be in the program that it’ll be next to impossible to get any attention for your titles that way. At that point you’ll be locked into the contract with Amazon and unable to sell anywhere else. When my 90 days is up, I’m planning to pull I Wish from the program and sell at every online retailer available, something I still haven’t done with my shorts even.

Don’t be blinded by my numbers. They are amazing, but they won’t last. It could be a year from now (I wish!) or next week (way more likely), but sooner or later my sales will normalize and I’ll go back to selling at a steady, realistic pace again. Hopefully that pace is significantly higher than it was before, but eventually even the best seller slows down as everyone who cares to read it, already has. It’s so important to plan for the long term.

You can’t live forever on a single book. The only way to have a secure future as a writer is to keep writing. I’ve said it before, but it’s so true, you don’t need to have a bestselling book if you’ve got 20 moderate sellers working for you. However it goes with I Wish, I plan to finish the Witches of Desire trilogy. And then I’ll tackle some of these other projects on my plate. And when those are done, I’ll find something else to do.

I’ve let myself spend the past few days ogling my stats because it’s felt like I’m a poor kid who just won the lottery. I can’t believe it happened to me. But now it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got words to write and an outline to finish so I can start putting words on paper for book 2. It’s tempting to try to market my book to death, but I’m trying to content myself with knowing that I’ve done as much as I can at this point. The best thing I can do for my career now is to let it go and turn my attention to the other books that need to be written and let those books be promotion for the first.

I’m off to write now, but amazing things have been happening to me that I’d love to share so before I go I’ll leave you with these two screen grabs.

wpid-iwishbywrenemersonbestsellingteenbook-2012-02-7-07-39.png

Seeing this really excited me. I think it’s that little green arrow telling the world I’ve been hanging out in that list for the past 2 days, but maybe it’s the fact that I’m ranked so high in such a broad category. Do you have any idea how many teen books there are out there? And I’m #22? Freakin’ crazy, man.

wpid-iwishbywrenemersonbestsellingpopularchildrensfictionbook-2012-02-7-07-39.png

Or how about seeing that I Wish is the 4th most popular children’s ebook. The top 3 books above me? Also happen to be the #1, #2, and #3 bestselling books on Amazon right now. And next is me? Hell yeah, I’ll take that.

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