In February I wrote about my KDP Select experiment with my short story collection Femme Fatales, my disappointment and doubt the program would continue to be a success for self-published authors.
Here’s the thing: I tried again, and what a difference this time!
My favorite Whisperings book is the first, Along Came a Demon, but I have always seen it as my loss leader. I sold it cheaply because I wanted to get it out there to readers. I wanted them to take a chance on it. I was told selling cheaply resulted in impulse buys and it probably would never be read by most purchasers who had hundreds of books on their Kindle To Be Read list, but I don’t think anyone pays for a book they will never read. The low price worked. Along Came a Demon sold well and, it appeared, 70-75% of those readers did return for the other books. In 2010, my Amazon ranking was usually in the 1K to 2K. If it slipped to 3K, I worried.
Then came the Amazon summer sales in 2011, and after that KDP Select, which made so many books available for free download. My sales slowed and continued to do so through 2012, and ranking slipped to the 15K range. I had to make Along Came a Demon visible to readers, and that 15K rank wasn’t doing it.
I decided to take the risk of removing Along Came a Demon from all distribution but Amazon and put it in the Select program. But Along Came a Demon will be back with other e-tailers in September, and the others in the series are still available.
It came free on Friday June 1st and Saturday June 2nd. The book soon went into the Top Free 100 List and downloads were great. 13,000 people had downloaded it by the end of the first day. It was #14 on the Top Free 100 List on Saturday morning. I had far less downloads that day but it remained in the top 100. When the two free days were over, 15,879 people in the USA, UK, Germany and France had downloaded a copy of Along Came a Demon. I know authors who have had hundreds of thousands of downloads, but I was happy with my numbers.
When I checked Sunday morning, ranking for Along Came a Demon had sank to the 34K range. Ouch! Never mind, I told myself. A lot of readers who would otherwise never have bought the book now had it on their Kindle. Hopefully, some of them would return for the series. Eventually. I’d just have to wait a while.
But then something surprising happened. Sales for book 2, The Demon Hunters, soared almost immediately, and so did sales and borrows for Along Came a Demon. Then all the other books. My ranking for Along Came a Demon in the USA went to the 2K range. It went to the 1K range in the UK.
All I can say is, some people are fast readers.
Downloads are still trickling in. Sales and borrows are still good. Ranking for Along Came a Demon has slipped to the 6K range, but it’s still better than it was before the book went free.
So what was different this time?
Femme Fatales is a 26,000 word short story collection. Along Came a Demon is a novel, and the first of a five-book series.
With Femme Fatales, I sent out a few tweets and announced on my blog and Facebook page. With Along Came a Demon, I made more of an effort to spread the word. I tweeted to Tweeters who send out the word about free books. I posted on Facebook pages which do the same. I contacted blogs which announce free books (for example, Pixels of Ink.) And a novelist friend saw my tweet and announced the sale to all her Google+ contacts, and she has a LOT of them.
So this KDP Select experiment was a success, and I think I owe it to a little more effort on my part, and to all the great people who helped get the word out.