In April 2016 after publishing the third novel in the Skidian Chronicles Series, I set myself a goal of selling a total of three thousand odd copies of the novels in the series by Christmas of 2016. When it became clear I wasn’t going to hit that deadline I extended the target date to March 2017. When it became clear I wasn’t going to hit that number I took a leaf out of sales reporting 101 and to keep myself on track decided to set myself an open ended goal.
Avid readers of this blog will know I have explored a number of avenues to boost sales, the most obvious being advertising, the other key one being making sure I work book sales pitches into relevant conversations, and some not so relevant. I have also run a series of free giveaways on Amazon and treated these as a transaction so I can count them as a ‘sale’. I have also given hard-copies to people who I think might be able to influence future sales. In September I ran a free give away on Amazon for the first novel in the series, the result of which is detailed below.
The key things I have discovered on this journey are
- it’s bloody difficult to give away free stuff
- it’s also bloody difficult to give books away in the kindle format if people don’t have an existing Amazon account.
- some people are not comfortable with having accounts with the major players in the digital world so I need to offer alternative options (Amazon, itunes etc)
- people I assumed would be tech savvy to be able to manage setting up an account and download the kindle app to a tablet or device, struggle with something my elderly parents can sort out in their stride
- any form of promotion pays off- I was on holiday for much of August, ran no adds anywhere, and had nil sales
- the Kindle lending library is popular – about a third of my royalties are from this source!
- have an Amazon Prime account- borrow the books.
- a huge number of other people are trying to do the same thing so having a point of difference is important
- friends and family can be easily convinced to buy and review a first book but it is harder to twist their arms and convince them to buy and review subsequent works
- word of mouth support is important
- reviews are key for indie writers and publishers.
Some lessons for my next marketing drive include running a free download from my blog or Facebook page and offer multiple formats. Discounted downloads from Kindle are also an option, and my dream is to be interviewed on Radio New Zealand would be sure to drive sales.
What can you do to help drive sales towards my target?
- if you haven’t downloaded any of my books-be brave and download from Amazon or buy a hard copy. Check out my Amazon Author page for links to the books
- if you like a hardcopy you can buy one off Amazon or better still ask your local library or bookstore to order one
- If you’re not sure if these books are your cup of tea, read the reviews and don’t be frightened off by the scifi tag. This series has a definite Kiwi theme, scifi is just the vehicle.
- please leave a decent review- reviews are important for indie writers
- tell all your friends-word of mouth support is more effective than paid adverts
- let me know if you have any bright ideas to help me market the books.
- September was a good month- a total of 85 downloads
- since I started this campaign there have been a total of 749 downloads (this number doesn’t include free hard-copies or downloads prior to April 2016)
- still a long way off my target but better than a poke in the eye with a stick
- I received a royalty cheque this month- more than enough to take she who must be obeyed out to dinner.
- the Facebook add supporting the giveaway generated 5572 views of the Amazon download page, 680 likes of the Skidian Chronicles Facebook post, and 70 odd clicks through to the download page.