Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Ebook Exploded

In a 25-hour period, the Amazon book rankings for A Diamond In My Pocket dropped from 161,359 to 471 and I sold over a thousand copies. 

I’ve been writing for a couple of years now and tried to find an agent or publisher for my work to no avail.  So I did what so many Indie authors are doing right now; I launched my ebooks on the world-wide-web.  I dabbled with, and; all of which gave positive feedback for my free ebooks. However, the big turning point for me was when I read John Locke’s book, How I sold one million ebooks in 5 months.  I decided to implement his marketing techniques beginning with changing my free price to $0.99 for each book.  Immediately, the downloads ceased!  Whoa, what happened?

I began building my reputation and seeking out my target audience hoping the overall plan would work.  I kept waiting for to send my books to but it just wasn’t happening fast enough; so I did it myself.  I listed all three for $0.99 and then went back to work building my customer base and writing blogs.  Little by little, single digit sales began to trickle in.  I’d get excited when I’d refresh and see an increase of one download.  It was like Christmas morning!

Then, to my horror, my book was reduced to FREE by Amazon!  I remember feeling gut-shot at the realization that some Amazon cheapskate didn’t want to shell out a buck when other online stores were offering the same book for free.  Clearly, I’d been flagged as ‘cheaper somewhere else’.  I searched the forums and found a posting of several books, including my Diamond book, as newly listed for free.  Well, so much for following in John Locke’s footsteps.  I had so much hope for my books to sell but this setback really took the wind out of my sails.

I refreshed my sales page and my 6 downloads for Diamond jumped to 28.  Oh, great, well maybe they’ll like it and check out my other books in the Scars of Defiance series, I thought to myself.

My Diamond book went free the evening of Aug 8 with an Amazon ranking of 79,563.  The most downloads I’d had on Smashwords was 1,200 in four weeks.  By the following evening I had 3,389 new downloads and ranked #39 in the Top 100 Free Kindle Store!  By 6 o’clock on the 11th I’d reached #19 in the free store with 6,227 free downloads.  I hit the 10,000 downloads mark in the late evening on the 13th, but my rankings were dropping; now I ranked #57 in the Free store.

By this time some reviews were trickling in and they weren’t necessarily good.  The lowest were 3 stars and pointed out multiple grammar and sentence structure issues.  The general consensus was the storyline was good but the typos made it difficult, if not unbearable, to read.  I had my editor work up a revision and uploaded it, but it usually takes 24-hours for it to go ‘live’.

Time was of the essence.  I knew once the other online stores updated my Diamond book to $0.99 Amazon would also.  I definitely wanted the revision to be ‘live’ when that happened, but I was too slow.

At 8:20 pm, on Monday the 15th, I noticed my book was no longer free.  Uh oh.  Now people were actually paying for ‘difficult, if not unbearable, to read’ and, even though it’s only ninety-nine cents, I felt certain the 1 and 2 star reviews were on the way! 

I watched the numbers climb through the night.  My Amazon ranking came in at 10:00pm on the 15th; #161,359.  That’s a far cry from #19 on the free list!  But now I was playing with the big boys and there is a lot more of them than the free crowd.

Aug 16th, at 8:15am, I’d sold 315 downloads in twelve hours.  Cool, but the new version wasn’t ‘live’ yet, so the panic was mounting.  However, my Amazon ranking was now #880 and I was #23 on the Kindle store’s Fantasy Contemporary list.  By 10:00am I was on the Mover’s and Shaker’s list with a rank of #670.  By 10:00pm my ranking had dropped to #471.

Basically, in 25 ½ hours, I dropped from 161,359 to 471 and sold over a thousand copies.

This morning, Aug 17th, I’m on the Most Popular List along with John Locke’s ‘The Love You Crave’.  Who would have thought that?  I mean, really, my book goes free and gets downloaded oodles of times; that’s easy to understand.  But continuing to leap forward after getting the ninety-nine cents price-tag?  I never would have thought that would happen.

It’s been just over eight days and I went from 6 downloads to 13,485; and they keep coming.  I owe my current popularity to my ebook becoming FREE for that short stretch of time; but my future successes will follow John Locke’s strategy.

John Locke, here I come.

August 17th, 2011, on the same page as John Locke:


Carolyn Arnold said...
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Gmalone said...

AWESOME! I'm so happy for you, I will be checking out your book myself pretty soon!
This is also very insightful, I want to put my own book out sometime in the near future:)

Penelope said...

That is AWESOME!