Posted by Jason Sizemore on Apr 24, 2012 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror, Words from the Publisher | 6 comments
On March 27th, 28th, and 29th, Apex enrolled The Convent of the Pure by Sara M. Harvey in the Amazon Select KDP FREE promotion. As promised in this post, I would come back and talk about the experience.
I titled the blog post “Dancing with the Devil” because I’m not a big fan of the KDP Select program. To me, it defines everything that makes Amazon into such a divisive entity. By signing up for a ninety day period, you make your eBook available for loan to Amazon Prime members. For each ‘borrow’ your book racks up, Amazon pays a fee. For five days during the ninety day period, you can have your book listed as free to all Amazon customers. Naturally, you aren’t paid for any of the free downloads, with the thought being that your awesome free book will hook the reader into PAYING for more of your eBooks. You get to choose which five days.
Therefore, before enrolling The Convent of the Pure, I had to go around to all the other eBook vendors we use and have the title taken down from those sites.
Sara’s book was downloaded an even 1,400 times over three days. Broken out by country: 1261 US, 103 UK, 34 Germany, 1 France, and 1 Italy.
Oddly, one person returned the book. I know it was one of the downloads because there was no debit against my total payout.
THE SALES JUMP
Wait, there was supposed to be a sales jump? All the talking heads (aka Pied Pipers) “indie” Amazon authors spit out generics about how sales increased after using the KDP Select program. I’m skeptical. I don’t trust what most of these people say about their sales because many have contracts with Amazon for publication (I’m not talking about random self-published Joe and their contract with KDP). That so many people fall at the feet of these individuals befuddles me. Another reason for my mistrust is that so many authors inflate their numbers on the blogs/forums and in conversation as part of “Legend building.”
After giving away 1,400 free copies, the number of copies sold of The Convent of the Pure since the promotion is the same as the month previous. The biggest perceived benefit should be for book two and three of the trilogy. April is the month after the promotion. These are KDP units sold.
The Convent of the Pure
January – 8
February – 4
March – 23
April – 10
The Labyrinth of the Dead
January – 1
February – 1
March – 4
April – 3
The Tower of the Forgotten
January – 0
February – 1
March – 4
April – 2
At least with six days remaining in April, sales have made no noticeable jump. In fact, there is a good chance they’ll be down for all three books.
I have two more free days to use during this 90 day period that I plan on using. Sales are already pretty slow, so using them won’t hurt and maybe the second round will give an added boost. Overall, Sara’s books do better than the KDP sales would indicate. I’ve never fully grasped why they don’t do better on the Kindle. They have eye-popping cover art, nicely designed titles, well-formatted digital versions… I’m going to venture that $2.99 for novellas isn’t a price a lot of Kindle users will pay (the 99 cent first book does way better, in general). Also, being book two and three of a series, these two titles will receive a lot less random buys than if they were book one.