From author David Kazzie:
One week ago, my book was dead in the water. And I mean dead. After a promising start last summer, sales crashed, completely, totally and spectacularly, despite wonderful reviews (from people who didn’t even know me!). From December 1 through January 24, I sold 21 copies on Amazon. One on BN.com. And that was it. Barely enough to fund a lunch date for me and my wife. The previous couple months hadn’t been much better. To be honest, I was trying to forget the book even existed as I worked on my new manuscript, my internal doomsayer wondering how badly I’d effed my career with a self-publishing disaster.
Now, I’d first heard about Amazon’s KDP Select Program during the holidays. Here was the deal: In exchange for providing Amazon a 90-day exclusive, authors get their book(s) listed with the Lending Library, which allows Prime members to borrow books electronically. Second, authors would be able to run free promos — for each 90-day period I enroll in Select, I could make the book available for free for up to five days, divided however I liked.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about it, especially given the exclusivity requirement. Part of me was aghast — how dare they ask me to pull my book from the other retailers! And then something occurred to me. Between October 1 and December 31, I had sold a grand total of …. ONE book on all the non-Amazon platforms — that one sale on Barnes & Noble.
. . . .
I woke up early again Friday the 27th and checked to see what was going on. The book was back in Paid status, and it had been borrowed through the Lending Library for the first time. I noted a few sales hit as I got ready for work. This was pretty awesome, as I hadn’t been sure what to expect — remember, I’d only had nine sales in January, and I was set to top that while eating breakfast. Now I had heard that the big sales bump for Free-to-Paid came about three days after it came off of Free status, but I didn’t know how accurate that was. Regardless, I didn’t want to get my hopes up on the first day.
Then sales started to pick up. It went from 225,000 to 38,000 to 10,000 on the bestseller list in short order. Then it hit 4,573 (the best ranking the book had ever had), and although sales continued to pick up, it only rose a few hundred spots in the afternoon. I pictured the book doing mighty battle with other books in the 1,000 to 5,000 range, and I wondered if this was the Wall. Was this the place where my book would have to make its stand?
And then it broke through. It hit No. 549 by late afternoon, and No. 151 by dinnertime. It settled at No. 76 by the end of the night, but the sales kept rolling in, even late on a Friday night. It’s currently ranked No. 1 among all Kindle legal thrillers, No. 2 among ALL legal thrillers, and even No. 44 in Fiction and Literature, which I really like because it sounds very official.
. . . .
Early Friday morning, the book continued to appear on the Free bestseller list, even though it switched back to Paid. There was a little bubble above the price marked “Why is This Not Free?”, and if you scrolled over it, you got Amazon’s explanation about it (although I can’t quite remember what the explanation is) — regardless, the now-$2.99 book was getting bestseller exposure even though it wasn’t really a Paid bestseller. This only lasted for a couple of hours, but I think it helped get the ball rolling.
Also, I had so many free downloads, the book began to appear in other books’ “Customer Also Bought” pages. Amazon doesn’t seem to care if these books mix together on the Also-Bought lists, so many more people were seeing the book once it switched back to Paid status, even though all its prior traffic was due to free downloads.
. . . .
The thing that bummed me out the most, though, was the complete disconnect between hits on my viral animated videos and book sales. The videos continue to draw about 1,000 hits per day — amazing, right? But my research suggests that this translated into no more than a few dozen sales — a couple hundred at the very most.
Link to the rest at The Corner and thanks to Greg for the tip.