Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From Mulch Layer to Bestseller's List in 5 Days

That's right, "Let's Do Lunch" is still on the UK Bestseller's List (click here) even after 10 days of 'real' sales and a price bump. (The price bump was to get some borrows, which it did – I have 11 to date in the US.)

Starting at the beginning –
Amazon announced the Kindle Owners' Lending Library to Kindle owners and KDP Select to authors. Some of the Writer Boards started to scream immediately – because of the clause that states the book will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. But there are other issues.

1) It takes almost 90 days for an active book to come off Smashwords Premium Catalog – the vendors are so slow to make changes that 'Let's Do Lunch' is still on sale on most of them with the first cover.

2) The writers with the best sales aren't going to touch the program. They can't afford to go with the exclusive clause – they will likely lose more sales than they will gain.

3) They CAN afford to put one book into it – the first of a series for instance – as long as they aren't making a lot of money in a different market.
Amazon threw in a 'Freebie' option, where an author can make the book free for 5 days, at any time. KDP Select is now THE place to launch a book. Enroll it for 90 days, promote the hell out of it as a free book for 5 days – and NEVER need to make it a Dollar Dreadful.

A layer of Dollar Dreadful mulch at the bottom of the charts.

I had no such problems, I DO did have 2 dead e-books and a collection of short stories, and all my efforts to promote have been lost in 'the mulch layer' of Dollar Dreadful books.

Once I took "Let's Do Lunch" off Dollar Dreadful status (when I got the new cover) sales dropped to nothing and stayed there. The paperback was outselling it, with 3 online sales in a month and 13 face-to-face sales.

Then what happened?

The first day was a stunner – after months of single sales 2,740 e-books went out.
This is what my 5-day FREE run looked like.


GRAND TOTAL:  7,123 includes 7 German sales, 1 in France and 1 Spain.
What I'm most happy with is this – pulled off the website as of today (12/27/11).

This is the one from the 18th - isn't it cool?
  • UK Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) 
  • #1 in Books > Fiction > Erotic > Adult Fiction 
  • #5 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Romance > Romantic Suspense 
  • #5 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Thrillers & Suspense
"Let's Do Lunch" has dropped off the US charts into Mid-list territory, and 2 to 5 sales per day. (This is still FABULOUS!) There are 11 'borrowed' copies in the US. As of yet, there is no clue how Amazon is going to split up the $500k for this month.

This is the UK AMAZON listing for "Let's Do Lunch" which I put on the Kindle Select Program and then free for 5 days, ending Saturday.

The book was dead - I gave away 7.5k in a week. At the time of this writing the chart looks like this:

UK Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#2,615 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#13 in Books > Fiction > Erotica > Adult Fiction
#24 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Romance > Romantic Suspense
#26 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Thrillers & Suspense

The UK sales don't have a pattern yet, the average is 28 over 10 days.
The point is – for the US this is a sustainable level of sales. I'm off the mulch layer in to the 20k to 30k rank. I think the book can hold its own until the 'Swallow the Moon' paperback is ready to go.

The Halo Effect* – has it kicked in?


There are no sales for "Impressive Bravado" (which is free just about everywhere) and "Swallow the Moon" (which is being pulled from all markets.)

I know these aren't halo sales because they were in the US, not the UK. I offered 'Swallow the Moon' free on Smashwords – got 1 d/l and 2 sales on Amazon US.
I'm doing some tweeting to let people know the books are out there. But, frankly, I'm not reaching anyone new, they've all seen this 100 times.

Is this a fluke?

No, my fellow Goodreads, Robust Group writers are having the same stunning results. Scales are different – Children's books and YA appears to hold strong after the free period ends. We are still waiting to see what happens for Dakota Franklin and Andrew McCoy.

Of course, now the BIG Boys have dropped in to play, Konrath and Crouch are offering free titles, possible through the same program. However, with their low prices, I don't think they are going to get a lot of borrows. Their sales will likely skyrocket…in their genre.

I have no fear they will take sales from my Romantic Suspense novel. (giggles)

How will this be paid?

Amazon Says:
"Your share of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library Fund is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles. For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000 and the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000 in December and if your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 in December."

My 18 borrows aren't going to pay that much. I'm looking a few dollars at best. I'm happy to had this chance to revive my dead book.

Amazon has been busting their butts to make it worthwhile for writer's to switch over, and we have flocked to their banner. They made early payments in December so authors could have money for Christmas. 

That was a HUGE gesture of goodwill.


This should be interesting.

(Updated 1/8/12)

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Ashtabula Horror

I snagged a link to this video today because it is a great introduction to one of Ashtabula's greatest disasters. This is also as good a way as any to start talking about the second book in the Dark Harbor series.

So don't be surprised to see some links about Ashtabula here as I start collecting the background I need for the Dark Harbor series. 

All this ties together with my experiment with Kindle Select this way: the money from this month's sales are going to finance my trip(s) back to Ashtabula to do research.

I've got a camera, video equipment, a scanner, my laptop and a basic understanding of what happened. I'm going to need to take a look at the area so I can describe it later.

I'm going to need a place to stay and money to live on. As much as I would LOVE to stay at Cahill House in the Harbor, I don't think I can afford it. I'm going to have to camp out somewhere cheap.

Austinburg might be a good place to stay for a week or two. However, knowing what I do about Ashtabula's weather, I might want to do better than live in a tent. 

I'll give this more thought as time goes on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Super Chickens!

I know, I'm being silly, there is nothing 'super' about my chickens.

But when I occasionally take a side trip to Google on the internet to look up eggs and raising chickens I see strange things. And I start to realize that my hen house is full of weird birds.

Like hens are supposed to molt in the fall and stop laying the rest of the winter, until the days lengthen.

The girls in my hen house slowed down in October. The Rhode Island Red hen that doesn't usually lay started laying. (I know it was her because her eggs are dark brown.) She gave me an egg a day for October and November then quit.

Meanwhile, the 3 Comets and 2 Barred Rocks molted and looked AWFUL. I pitied them - so I doctored their feed with minerals I usually save for the horses. Two pounds of horse feed doctored with a scoop of "Source" minerals.

The hens got in nice feathers, they looked shiny, so I gave them another dose. They get this mix with their regular oyster shells twice a week.

They started filling the nests up - I got 9 eggs in 2 days. Now I'm getting 4 eggs a day, in the middle of the winter, when they are supposed to be on vacation because there isn't enough daylight.

I don't have the heart to tell them to quit - even if they would listen. So I've got these eggs with extra thick shells that are more orange than an orange, or a carrot. According to some of the articles I've read, the food the hen eats has a tremendous affect on the Nutrients in the eggs (click here for more).

I gave a dozen to my parents. I figured if anyone needs to eat Super Eggs it's them.

I can't decide if it's in my best interest to fire up the incubator - to get more chickens, or to eat these eggs.

They make really good tasting cookies. Maybe that is a better use for them. Until the Holidays are over.

The saying goes "Make hay while the sun shines." Maybe I should eat the eggs while I'm getting them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Old Dog and a Heating Pad

Hanging out on the heating pad - JR and Trouble

My oldest dog has a bad back. He's got a pinched disk, just like mine. We often snuggle together just for body heat. (Dogs are very warm.)

The other day I was on the heating pad, with some hanging over. Jr rolled onto the heating pad - and kinda melted in place.

Next thing I see, he's upside down, feet in the air, back planted on the heating pad.

If I ever get a photo, I'll post it here.

I know what I'm going to get him for Christmas - there are huge heated dog beds in some of the stores. I'm going to see what it will cost to get him one.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sucking Sound of KDP Select

Mark Coker of Smashwords on Hufffington Post concerning the Amazon KDP Select program.

Long story short - Indie author sells soul (e-books) to Amazon's KDP select program in order to give their books away free for 5 days and a chance their book will remain visible and viable for the next 90 days and thereafter.

Who would do such a thing? Abandon Smashwords affiliate program (Apple, Kobo, Diesel, B&N and Sony) for a slim chance at jump-starting an other wise dead book - Indies are lining up.

According to the blogging grapevine  - 20k books have been taken off Smashwords, presumably to join the Amazon program. I don't blame them a bit.

Yes, that sucking sound is books being removed from other markets and enrolled in KDP Select.

"Let's Do Lunch" is among them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interior Format - Fail!

I've given up on formatting the interior of "Swallow the Moon" on my own.

My attention span is about 30 seconds long - and I can't seem to get anything finished. So I've decided to turn over the creation of the 'Swallow the Moon' paperback to Create Space.

Since I have the fabulous cover:

Yes, this is it. The only thing I can say is "WOW!" once again. As soon as I find out the page count, we are going to finish it up.

I wasn't going to rush this. However, I've discovered that paperbacks of 'Let's Do Lunch' are selling a few at a time. So I'm going to put myself in the position to take advantage of any sales that occur.

Stay tuned - I'll make the announcement in a few days.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Cover!

I finally found the right artwork for this story by I. C. Talbot.

Mom writes women's fiction and chick-lit, so this has the right look. I may need to get a subscription to one of the big stock photo places to support all her stories.

Looks like it might pay off.

Barnes and Nobel - Turned Out

Amazon - Turned Out

Smashwords - Turned Out

Friday, December 2, 2011

Iditarod - The Last Great Race Reviewed

IditarodIditarod by Andre Jute
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rhodes and William take on the wilderness of Alaska during the Iditarod, the 'Last Great Race.'

A very good read - the imagery was wonderful. I found myself yearning to see Alaska, in spite of my better judgement (I hate snow and cold.)

I got a very real sense of the depth of the dangers Rhodes faced. I found it hard to believe she would go on the race without being armed to the teeth. That's just me. I get the creepy crawlies from listening to coyotes howl and yap. I'd want a high-powered rifle if there was a rumor of wolves.

The other characters were also well-drawn, everything fitted together very well.

I found it curious the characters hallucinated during the race. I didn't understand that at all. However that didn't detract from the story.

View all my reviews