Exclusivity or not; are other retailers worth it?

Like many self published authors, I have spent a lot of time wondering whether KDP Select is worth bothering with or not. Is it really worth signing up for exclusivity, just to get 5 Free Promo days per 90 days? When I started, I signed up for it and tried it out. It worked, at least to some extent. I was able to get word out there about my books by making use of the Free Promo days.

Then I finished writing my serial, Just Another Day at the Office, and decided that the first part should always be free. If you’ve ever looked into how to do this, you’ll be aware that the ONLY way of making Amazon give a book away for free permanently, is to upload it elsewhere, set the price to zero and wait for Amazon to price match. That’s what I did; I uploaded my books everywhere I could possibly figure out how, and made part one free.

Now I feel it’s time to evaluate whether branching out has been the right decision. I put my royalty income from all sales platforms over the past 1 year into a spreadsheet and was quite surprised by what I found out. Obviously Amazon is by far the biggest source of royalties, but I found unexpected stats for some of the smaller outlets.

retailers-chart

I have been on Amazon longer than anywhere else, so this breakdown may change over time. Also, the above chart was made off of royalty income. This is an important point to note: The majority of my work sells for $0.99 which means I get only 35% royalty at Amazon. Some of the other outlets pay better at that price level, meaning that they form a larger share of my royalty income, compared to actual books sold compared to Amazon.

Another thing to note is the Smashwords segment in the chart; it represents almost exclusively sales via Barnes & Noble. My work is not yet available on Apple, but when it does, I expect income from Smashwords to grow significantly.

The two surprise entries are Google Play and All Romance Ebooks. Ever since I entered those two markets in April this year, sales have steadily been going up, seemingly unhindered by seasonal slumps or other variations. I expect that at least Google sales will continue to grow as it’s a significant potential market; just imagine what would happen if the majority of Android phone and tablet owners started to really take Google Play serious for their book purchases. I believe we’re now just at the beginning and provided they don’t fuck up, Google could become a force to be reckoned with.

BTW, if you prefer to look at percentages rather than colourful pie charts, the breakdown is as follows: Amazon 68%, Smashwords 14%, Google 10%, All Romance Ebooks 6% and Kobo 2%.

FREE forever! Just Another Day at the Office part one.

Finally it’s time to make a big announcement: After uploading Just Another Day at the Office – I for free on other retailer sites including Smashwords, Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Kobo, now Amazon has completed their price matching process on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk and made the book free there too!

Get your copy, if you haven’t already. And perhaps tell your friends about it if you like?

Just Another Day 1 - med

Just Another Day at the Office – I

FREE on Amazon.com!

FREE on Amazon.co.uk!

Sneak Peek Sunday (Just for One Night)

He shakes his head slowly before lifting the pint to his lips. I follow suit but can’t help wondering what he’s thinking.

“I don’t see how you’d have that problem. I’m sure you get plenty of attention without even trying,” he says finally, almost mumbling the words into his glass.

I look him right in the eyes and helplessly give in to my urge to grin before answering .

“Perhaps the attention I tend to get without trying isn’t the one I want.”

We just stare at each other for what feels like ages. Neither of us seem in a hurry to look away. I leisurely let my mind wander, still curious what his hands might feel like against my skin. And those lips.

Objectively speaking he looks like the sort of guy you’d avoid messing with if you can help it. I’m certain that when he walks down the street, people will instinctively part to make way. At the same time his mannerisms, his way of speaking have me convinced that behind the imposing facade, he’s a really sweet guy. I wonder what makes me so sure, I don’t even know him… yet.

Onenight2-siteThe above Sneak Peek is from Just for One Night.
A brand new release, exclusively available at Amazon ( US / UK ).

Check out other entries on the Sneak Peek Sunday blog!

Sneak Peek Sunday (Just Another Day at the Office)

My brain is on autopilot as he witters on about what he expects from me, I try to keep eye contact to a minimum while uttering generic responses where appropriate.

“Yes I understand,” I say.

Punctuality is important, got it. My eyes wander around the room, over the posed photographs of him sharing a handshake with some equally pompous looking dick. Dick – an appropriate nickname for Richard Porter – purchasing manager at the large electronic components distributor where I will be working soon. By now I’ve seen enough of the over dressed hardboard office from where he rules his domain and I stealthily glance through the window that overlooks the office floor. The desks are arranged in groups of three or four with partition walls surrounding each cluster. Most group arrangements that I can see are fully occupied except one.

“Yes indeed I’m very excited to start my career here …” I hear myself say.

I give Richard – Dick – a quick glance. Pointless, he’s still looking at my cleavage. Perhaps I should offer him a tissue. I try to breathe through my mouth to avoid the “manly” smell he’s producing.

Outside on the office floor the man who sits alone in a grouping of three desks catches my eye. He turns around on his chair as he answers the phone and only now I can fully appreciate him. Not much older than me, if I had to guess I’d say maybe he’s about 30. His full head of dark blonde hair, a bit messy and just slightly longer than intended. A perfect face, if there can be such a thing. Completely regular features and a straight nose as if copied from an ancient Greek statue; not that I recall seeing many Greek statues of a man of his size. I can’t tell their exact colour from here but even at this distance his eyes exude kindness and warmth. He looks so serious, speaking into the phone with his full, sensual lips and a thoughtful look on his face.

The above Sneak Peek is from Just Another Day 1 - tinyJust Another Day at the Office ; part one.
You will be able to download it for free on Amazon ( US / UK ) from Monday 11th March to Wednesday, 13th March!
Parts two and three are also available, with a fourth in the making.

Check out other entries on the Sneak Peek Sunday blog!

Just Another Day at the Office – III ; Out Now!

promoimgFB-JA3

Thanks for all your patience, as well as regular encouragement this past month. Finally I have finished and jumped through all the necessary hoops in order to publish Just Another Day at the Office part three on Amazon and some other retailers.

The official book page is up on this site also where you will be able to see links to buy it at all retailers, as well as an excerpt.

Currently, you can buy it here:
(more retailers to be added shortly)
Amazon: US, UK, DE, FR (and others)
Smashwords
All Romance Ebooks

The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment; 2

amazon

Back in November I did a blog post about my first experience doing a free promotion with KDP Select on Amazon.

This initial free promotion was a bit of a failure considering I fell ill and didn’t manage to tell a single person about my free book. However, the results were interesting, giving me a baseline for what to expect with zero promotion.

Just to recap, I managed to get a bunch of downloads;
Amazon.com – 87
Amazon.co.uk – 33 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 11
Amazon.fr – 1

And the book reached spot 98 in the Amazon UK Erotic Fiction Free Bestseller category.

This time, I’m giving away a different book, Just Another Day at the Office – I and I even have a bit of a cunning plan.

  1. I’m spamming the hell out of Facebook especially and to a lesser extent Twitter and Google+. If you’re my FB friend, you might want to ignore me during this period, after getting your free copy of course!
  2. After reading the free book, readers who want to read more of my work can actually do so because I have more published (Last time the free book was my ONLY book).
  3. Just Another Day at the Office – I, obviously, is only the first part of a larger work. My free promo coincides with the launch of part two. Hopefully my free promo will hook readers into buying the next part.
  4. Compared to last time, I have some lovely writer friends who are helping to put the word out about this promo, and I even have some reviews already up on the book I’m giving away which should make it more attractive.

I cannot wait to see how this promo will play out!

Check back later, when I’ll update this post with the results.

Please note when comparing figures that the first giveaway lasted only one day, the current one will last two days.

The results are in!

Downloads; 2157 in total!
Amazon.com – 1887
Amazon.co.uk – 202 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 55
Amazon.fr – 2
Amazon.es – 2
Amazon.it – 1
Amazon.co.jp – 1
Amazon.ca – 7

Rankings:
#4 in Free Erotica on Amazon.com!

#9 in Free Erotica on Amazon.co.uk!

Reviews/Likes
I’ll be honest, I am not sure how many likes I had before the promo so it would be hard to measure any effect. But on 6 and 7 February (while the book was free) I did manage to get two awesome reviews on Amazon.com and one on Goodreads. Also, a few people marked it as “to read” on Goodreads on the 6th.

Resulting sales
It’s too early to tell if now that Just Another Day at the Office – I is no longer free, I might get sales based on how it performed in the rankings. I will post an update about this in a week or two. But, part two, which I launched at the same time as the free promo (with very limited marketing efforts comparatively) managed to achieve quite a few sales in these two days. Some will have been by readers who were already waiting for it to come out, but I suspect that a fair number were from people who may have wanted more of the same story after reading part one.

UPDATE:

18th Feb – Almost 2 weeks after the free promo, I can see a clear trend in my sales on Amazon. Note the graph below. the horizontal axis represents days, 1 being the day I did the free promo. The vertical axis shows the total sales up to that day. (Growth = I’ve sold something, Flat = no sales).

After giving away part one for free on 6 Feb, you can see a sharp rise in sales immediately after, since things have calmed down but I am still seeing more sales than I normally would during times when I’m not actively promoting my work. There is also a little effect on sales of Ladies’ Day, which I haven’t promoted at all for months.

Salesperday


Verdict
This went way better than I expected! I never thought I’d get close to 1000 downloads, never mind exceeding 2100! And hopefully using the free giveaway as a hook to get readers to try out more of my work will pay off beyond these few days as well. I’ll definitely do this again, whether with the same book or something new perhaps.

The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment

My last blog post, for those who read it, already announced that I have self published my first ever work on Amazon. For better of for worse I opted to enroll in KDP Select which means I can choose to give away the ebook for free during 5 days in each given 6 month period.The downside is I am locking myself into an agreement to exclusively sell on Amazon, and not on any other ebook market places such as Smashwords, Apple iBooks, etc.

Now, obviously I’d prefer people to buy it so I get paid royalties, but I have read on other author’s blogs that a free promotion can do wonders for future book sales. So I thought I’d give it a go.

For 24 hours yesterday, my ebook, “Ladies’ Day” was available for free on Amazon Kindle. Now I was planning to be very productive and promote this fact on Facebook and Twitter, and also on this blog, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

Instead of waking up fresh and ready to spam the internet, I woke up with a terrible sinus headache and opted to stay in bed all day. I didn’t post a single link to my book page, didn’t tell a soul that it would be free for 24 hours. Though not ideal, at least I figure this free promotion can serve as a benchmark for any future marketing I do. And for the benefit of other self publishing authors out there, I decided to publish my figures for what might happen when you give away an erotic story (normal price $0.99 or so) without doing a single bit of promotion for it.

Downloads:
Amazon.com – 87
Amazon.co.uk – 33 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 11
Amazon.fr – 1

Rankings:
No idea what it was like yesterday but this morning I was ranked 98 in the Amazon.co.uk Free Bestsellers within the Erotic fiction category. My book was nowhere to be found in the Amazon.com bestseller list. This tells me that potentially the market for Erotica in the UK is very small, if I can make it into the top 100 with only 33 downloads.

Reviews / Likes:
I don’t see any discernible increase in Likes on my book, but then I haven’t really been keeping tabs a lot on how many likes I had before. There have been no reviews.

Verdict:
I have no idea yet if this was worth it. But it seems once you start giving stuff away for free, someone or other will notice and download it. This alone is quite promising. I’ll have to assume that at least some of the people who got a free copy will read it, at least in part. And just maybe they’ll later be inclined to leave a review, even if it’s negative.

On the other hand, the next time I do a free promotion, I hope to actually manage to plaster my link all over Facebook/Twitter and maybe websites that list free ebooks. And if I do that, I should be able to see fairly easily if the downloads I’m getting are similar to these current figures, or if there will be a visible increase in downloads due to the social marketing efforts I’ll be putting in.

2 Weeks later:
Although of course I was very pleased that I managed relatively many downloads with zero promotion, it’s the commercial results that count. To be honest there haven’t been any that I could find.
No reviews as a result of the free promotion.
No increase in sales that could be attributed to the free promotion.

Next time I give away my book for free and actually advertise that fact, I’ll write another post which should show a dramatic difference in exposure and hopefully an increase in sales by the end of it.