A week has passed since I’ve put “The Shadow of Black Wings” on the e-book market, and it’s time for a brief summary. Don’t worry, these won’t be posted every week – I plan the next one after a month and then – well, we’ll see.
A week is, of course, too short of a time to properly summarize anything. There’s over a million ebooks on Amazon alone, breaking through all this immense mass will take considerable time and effort. But already, I think, some interesting patterns are emerging.
Amazon. Checking the overnight sales (due to time difference) had instantly become an addition to the morning ritual. The sales are trickling slowly but steadily. In fact, surprisingly so: there has not been a day where I hadn’t sold a book yet. That’s promising, considering I haven’t really done any promotion outside my immediate social circles (except Twitter, see below), there is only one book in the series (never a good thing) and there’s no stars or reviews. My bestseller ranking oscillates between 30k on a good day to 100k on a bad day, and I have no clue how to calculate it.
KDP dashboard and Author Central are excellent tools, although an ability to see all sales on all regional Amazons at a time would be a welcome addition. Not that there are any sales outside US for now – all my marketing efforts are focused on amazon.com
(Google) Play Books. The Google Partner program is the most atrociously ‘in beta’ Google product I have ever had a misfortune to use. Not only is it buggy and constantly offline, the interface looks like designed by an intern during a lunch break. It’s basically little more than a visual add-on to an underlying excel spreadsheet. I can’t even edit the product description without uploading the entire book all over again.
There are no rankings, no genres (!), no tags. No visibility on the marketplace unless you know the exact title and author’s name. With all this, it’s not surprising that there have been no sales through this channel whatsoever. That I know of – the reporting dashboard is offline today, again.
Gumroad. It’s only there in case somebody feels like avoiding the big shops, but I’ve noticed the ability to pay only by credit card is intimidating to some. No sales here.
I have yet to try Smashwords, but their formatting guidelines seem aimed at annoying people, and I’m just not convinced if having a book there is worth the extra effort. Does anyone actually use Smashwords other than when authors do free giveaways?
So far a major winner in the social networks battle proved to be… LiveJournal. Remember that old place? Yeah, there are still people there, and they’re not hesitant to spend money on books. I had by far the most confirmed sales coming from there. That means something, but I’m not yet sure what.
Since I was never big on Twitter (this week the number of my followers rose by 400% only because I started to actually tweet regularly) I wasn’t expecting much traffic from there; still, it was rather disappointing to see the couple of tweeting campaigns I’ve enlisted to resulted in no sales whatsoever. As others have said before, marketing when there is only one unknown book is a waste of time and money.
I can only assume some of the sales are coming from my 600+ (and growing) followers on G+, my favourite social network of all. But I would have suspected there would be a bit more. C’mon people, $0.99 is not that much! 🙂 It doesn’t help that half of my circlees are other writers, too busy with their own work to notice mine 🙂
On Facebook I had to mostly give away the books to people to make them read. I can’t really bring myself to care about promoting on FB; I use it to interact with the AlliA members and a few real life friends.
Goodreads is a failure. I have neither will nor way to use this site properly. All the groups I’ve subscribed to trying to build a presence are either dead (5 views on a thread per week? MySpace is less of a ghost town…) or full of people shouting ‘look at me, look at me!’. The book is there to download FOR FREE, and only a handful of people have even noticed. I just… don’t know.
If anyone knows any other place where it’s really worthwhile to show up, let me know.
So far all this may seem underwhelming, but it’s only been a week. In a little while I’m expecting some reviews to come back from my first reviewers. I’ll have the paperback ready. In August there will be some more promotions and interviews – also, hopefully, in August the “Warrior’s Soul” (volume two) will be published which should drive some more interest. There’s a lot to look forward to!
*) The child in question being me. What? We’re all somebody’s children!