Mark Terry

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Might Be Curious

December 16, 2011
So, my publisher, Oceanview, offered last year's Derek Stillwater novel, THE FALLEN, for FREE on the Amazon Kindle. It moved its way up to #1 for a while on the Amazon bestseller lists (for free) although it's dropped down to about #51 overall, although as of today it's still #3 in the Action/Thriller list. Great advertising that.

In that I get no money from this (nor does my publisher, presumably), the question becomes: Did it do anything for your other books? I have no answer to that in terms of the paper versions of THE FALLEN or any of the versions of THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS.

I do, however, have some data on how it affected e-book sales of my other titles on Amazon. So, keeping in mind that today is the 16th and due to Amazon's silliness they didn't actually get the price down to $0.00 until about the 5th or 6th, here's what happened to my other titles to-date.

Units Sold
Units Refunded
Net Units Sold
Units Borrowed
3Freelance Writing For A LivingB004XNKWSA1010
4Hot MoneyB0045U9R3C100100
5Monster SeekerB003QHZ6VC3030
6The Battle For AtlantisB003QHZ7V6100100
7The Devil's PitchforkB003LSTW3E23132280
8The Fortress of DiamondsB005HVZ96M3030
9The Serpent's KissB003NUQRA620422020

Clearly we can see that the incentive increased interest in THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK and THE SERPENT'S KISS. How much? Well, sales were increasing in November anyway for no completely identifiable reason, although I suspect the blog-publishing of DIRE STRAITS had something to do with it.

It's having some effect on HOT MONEY, which is gratifying, and on EDGE. THE BATTLE FOR ATLANTIS sells about that many copies each month anyway. The other titles, well, they haven't budged much. Typical sales of PITCHFORK and SERPENT prior to November were something like 20 to 30 copies each. So clearly something has happened, and just getting onto the Kindle lists probably has a lot to do with it. I've always argued that the best advertising in the world is actually getting onto certain bestseller lists, and this seems to confirm that.

So, I'm happy about it. I'm not confident in the sales' sustainability, but I'll get a nice deposit into my checking account at the end of the month that will help me somewhat offset my Christmas spending. I would generally have preferred THE FALLEN show up in the Top 10 of the list on December 25th so a million or so people who found Kindles under their Christmas trees would download it, but, as they say, timing is everything. Hopefully it'll still have some legs in a week.

As for how this compares to my Nook sales and sales via Smashwords, well. Last I checked (yesterday), I had sold 2 copies of Pitchfork and 2 copies of Serpent this month, and nothing else. On Smashwords, hell, I haven't sold anything on Smashwords in months.

After a dry blogging period, I'm hoping to do some semi-regular posts from now until the end of the year that will address publishing and e-book sales and writing in general and what I'm thinking about 2011 and 2012.

Mark Terry

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Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Amazing numbers. I do intend to mention your free offer on my blog in the next few days. I guess I've said that I have practically begged our publisher to at least experiment a little with the pricing for our ebooks which are selling nada at $6.99. What't to lose?

No matter what the long term sales effects, I'll bet you made more for the month from the sales of three books, with one for free, than you would have from the sales of all three books at regular price so it turns out well even if it is a one month deal.

One thing I am curious about though is how many of the Fallen were downloaded for free? After all, money isn't the only thing. Just having some readers is gratifying.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

At the moment, at least, I think experimenting with pricing is pretty much a must-do with e-books. I was quite glad my publisher was willing to try the $0.0 thing.

And I think you're totally right. The free e-book generated a lot of sales overall. Although for whatever reasons sales were on an upswing last month, they really jumped this month and it's all about getting the name out. I think people downloaded The Fallen because it was free - and I marketed it a fair amount on Facebook and Twitter - and said, "oh, it's part of a series, and the other books are cheap, so why don't I get those, too."

I'm very curious about how many copies of The Fallen were downloaded, too. Don't know if I'll ever really know. But I have to say, I thought the whole process was positive. If the people who downloaded it actually get around to reading it (my experience with free downloads is I may download them but not get around to reading them soon, or ever) and like it (not necessarily a given), then I may have some new lifelong readers. Which is what we want.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Well how about this? I went over to the Poisoned Pen Press website today searching for an url and son of a gun -- without mentioning it to us -- they lowered the price of Four For a Boy -- the prequel to the series -- to 99 cents. Hooray! They have decided to offer the first book of ten different series for 99 cents. Not only that, they dropped the price of our other ebooks from $6.99 to $4.99, so they are experimenting with the price and we're thrilled.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Fantastic. I just put that up on Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully you'll get some new readers.

5:28 AM  

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