Jul 28, 2013

Pivoting in the Self-Publishing Playground

The bookworms are almost done professionally editing Reunion at Walnut Cherryville, but they could sure use a refill of red ink in their pens.  Thanks for putting up with all those errors!  There is still time to get my novel for free before the new, edited version is released. Download the digital version of Reunion at Walnut Cherryville before August 17, 2013 from Amazon and receive a free update (fully edited) when the novel is sparkling clean!  Also, enter the Goodreads book giveaway for a chance to win a free (fully edited) print copy.

The Eternal Feud will be moving its quarrel to KDP Select for 90 days starting on or around August 17th.  During this period, ebooks will be exclusively sold on Kindle making them no longer available on Smashwords, Nook, iBooks, Kobo or any other retailer…we’re sorry.  Print books will remain available for purchase on Amazon.  KDP Select will allow Amazon Prime members to borrow Reunion at Walnut Cherryville from Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Why Would A Self-Published Author Sell Through One Retailer? 
Well, let’s look at the analytics from the past four months…

Kindle Downloads vs Competitors
*This chart does not represent downloads from retailers that contributed less than 1% of Reunion at Walnut Cherryville downloads.

It’s no secret that Kindle dominates the industry, which is why most readers who downloaded my book got it from there.  In March 2013, the ebook was released and available for $3.99 at all the retailers listed above.  In my case, it didn’t seem to matter how many retailers my book was being sold through because it was only making sales through Amazon.  Since sales weren’t as great as I hoped they’d be during the first month, I tried out a new marketing strategy: giving it away for free.  This increased downloads by over 100 percent.

I have many friends, who are aspiring novelist, asking me for advice before they set their own books off to sail though the muck of publishing.  Whether the readers realize it or not, authors invest a year’s worth of time or more into writing, revising and preparing their books to be published.  It was a lot of work to willingly give away for free; though I learned the “free strategy” had its advantages for new self-published authors.

The Positive Ions of Free
1. It encouraged readers to take a chance on me because they weren’t going to lose any money by downloading my free book.

2. It’s boosted my chances of getting reviews and rating on Goodreads and retailer websites by getting my book in front of more readers.

3. The Amazon algorithm worked in my favor when my book was free vs. paid, since there was less competition in the free book categories.  Reunion at Walnut Cherryville is featured in two top 100 free Best Sellers lists: Teen & Young Adult Dystopian and Dystopian Science Fiction.  This was possible because I wasn’t competing against books from well-known authors, like The Hunger Games, on the same list.

4. This strategy helped me learn more about the market, my readers and what suggestions they had to improve my work.

The Free Pea
“Free” gave the book a great introduction to the world, though there is still room for improvement.  The biggest disadvantage of the “free strategy” was the fact that it’s free.  I didn’t make any money for four months, so I ate a pea every night for dinner.  That’s over-exaggerating a bit…I ended up getting a day job to earn some income.  Though I don’t expect to get rich being a novelist, KDP Select is another strategy to try.  If there is a way to turn peas into chickens, I will find out and let you know.

I apologize for the inconvenience to those who don’t like to buy their books from Amazon.  Always feel free to voice your opinions on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @EternalFeud.

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