I did a free giveaway much earlier in the year with Polly, my short story, and Amazon later gave me an analysis of how it performed in its category – into the top fifty, which, considering it was the most inept promotion of all time, wasn’t bad. I’m hoping they’ll do the same on One Two (nothing yet) but the figures below show how the books were performing against the million-plus-plus books eddying around in the Amazon ocean.
I spent the whole weekend pimping One Two at regular intervals and Monday adding in Five Six. This morning I counted up clicks on my Booklinker codes – which reflect the response to anything I have personally pimped – then checked the books to see where they ranked on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk, and finally bravely went into sales / downloads to see the actual results.
One Two’s promo ended last night, and it achieved a personal best today with an Amazon ranking of #635 on UK. It was down slightly on Amazon .com, where it never got higher than #2173 (Sunday). It racked up 548 clicks from my personal advertising. The ranking is not, unfortunately, sales – it just reflects how popular it was proving with browsers.
Polly PW, just to put the above into perspective, had no promoting at all this time round and remained below the #700K mark on Amazon.UK, (never breaking into the top million on Amazon.com) and never selling a single copy, yet swaying between #708808 and #711865. Polly is joining the excellent Alfie Dog stories website (‘take your imagination for a walk’) at the end of November, at a lower price than Amazon, and will have her share of promotion then.
Actual downloads of One Two on all Amazon sites – 573 books. Looked at one way – compared to the better known authors, who apparently give away 20 thousand books when they run a freebie, definitely deflating. Looked at the other way – potentially nearly two hundred new readers. That’s based on the theory that 30% of readers will hate your work, 30% will love it, and the rest will be completely indifferent. (19 of those were in Germany, and definitely not related to my personal promoting, as I only had 8 clicks for Germany.)
Three Four only got one promotional tweet, but made a few unexpected sales. Its ranking never rose above 300 thousand on UK, yet oddly it is the only book performing better on Amazon.com. Its ranking there today was #181 440, but over the days I was monitoring it rose as high as #115 407. That does imply the cover is working, the blurb – or lack of reviews – is not.
Five Six achieved a respectable ranking, #32 659 today, well done the new kid on the block! The book got 93 clicks in all from my personal promoting. I do have two fabulous reviews on Amazon.com, the kind of reviews that a writer (well, this writer) dreams of, and I suspect Five Six’s high ranking has much more to do with them than with anything I was puddling about doing. Sales were okay. Better than any previous book of mine has done in its first few days, but not everyone who looked, bought. The books are definitely off-trend, you only have to look at the top hundred books to realize how far off. Celebrities, autobiographies, cook books, diet books, children’s books and a slim sheaf of very loud novels from well-known authors are a far cry from cosy whodunits. I’m grateful anyone bought!
If it had all gone brilliantly I would now have launched into a breakdown of where I did all my promoting but under the circumstances, I doubt it would help anyone planning a campaign. I don’t think I’ll do it again, but if I do, the following will remind me not to make the same mistakes twice.
Promoting on Twitter
I did find, as I said in an earlier blog, hashtags were extraordinary. Although I only have a handful of contacts on my author Twitter account (@EJLamprey), using the hashtags took me into the general ocean. The Booklinker click count definitely showed more reaction to #whodunit, #newrelease #freekindle #freekindleread, and #ebook than to some of the others that had been recommended.
Promoting on Facebook pages
I had joined about twelve Facebook sites for readers, reviewers, writers, and various combinations of same. Some will only feature free books, and were a bit crowded – post an entry, and in minutes it was five, six, seven posts down the page and lost for ever.
Some FB pages are only for new books, and weren’t as hectic, although Five Six’s cover was rubbing shoulders with a lot of naked gleaming torso action, and intense stares from beautiful males / females with too much makeup, pointed chins, and probably even more pointed teeth. There was a lot of Young Adult stuff but I was the only Old Adult whodunit, so far as I could see.
Promoting through other writers, and friends
I got an author interview from the successful and talented romantic comedy writer Patsy Collins, some retweets on Twitter from friends, and some shared posts from my author page, grateful thanks to those too, so very much appreciated. It is a lonely business, pimping, and moments of interaction are very welcome. One lovely fellow writer spotted one of my promo posts on a FB site and put a comment on it to say how good the book was, huge hug!
Promoting on websites for free books
I had applied to about ten different websites that list freebies while they are on promotion, and three of them definitely ran the book, grateful thanks to the following:
http://addictedtoebooks.com/free – you can’t book in advance, you have to remember to post on the first day, but they’ll keep it live while it is on promo price. I have no idea how powerful it is, but I loved that you can tick categories, and therefore readers can search by categories and filters, and I picked up a few free books while I was there!
http://snickslist.com is also one to list at the start and I forgot, such an idiot. I listed it for the last day only, but liked the website, which also tells you how many times viewers have looked further – 14 readers clicked via it to Amazon, not bad for a Tuesday. So I would recommend this one too.
http://www.talismanbookpublishing.com did list the book, but have a very odd system – actually finding the books was tricky, and then they had no covers, and no clickable links, so not really of any use.
http://ereadernewstoday.com didn’t run it – I was sorry about that, they are a top website and it looks well run and well managed.
The sour grapes section of promotional websites:
http://pixelscroll.com didn’t run it – or if they did, I couldn’t find it. The section called ‘free Kindle books’ had quite a few with prices and although I filtered by ‘mystery’, there were some heavy clinches going on, and nekkid people, so I wasn’t particularly impressed.
http://www.indiesunlimited.com didn’t run it and when you click into Freebie Friday all you learn is how to submit your book, not what actual books are free that Friday, so ditto.
http://www.pixelofink.com didn’t run it – no big surprise there, as they are supposed to be one of the best websites and run two bargains, and two freebies, every day, which must have good ratings and good reviews on Amazon.com already. Their main feature was “what happens after Fifty Shades?” – that was never going to be a good match!
http://freebooksy.com doesn’t have a search facility so you have to scroll through the website to find the type of books you like – it also has no history, just the books on offer for the day. I checked Friday, and today, but I didn’t remember to check over the weekend so if you apply to this one, check every day. I have no idea if they ran the book over the weekend, but probably not.
http://www.fkbooksandtips.com is a bit clunky and I’m assuming didn’t run it – couldn’t find it but because of the clunkiness, didn’t search each day.
Summarising the promotion
All in all: 46 promotional tweets (it felt a lot more). 26 posts on FB pages for One Two, and 17 for Five Six. Submitted details to 10 websites (that’s quite a lengthy process, as it includes a bio and synopsis and mini author interview on some) and definitely featured on 3. Looked at that way, I got a good return in sales / downloads.
And now – we wait. Will One Two’s visibility help Five Six before the impetus wears off and it fades back into the sunless depths? Will Amazon let me know how the books performed in category? Will readers become fans and follow the series? Will there be any reviews?
And can I face NaNoWriMo for the first time (this time last year I was way too busy on One Two) or is it time to take a month off altogether?