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)


Jean Davis said...

Congrats on all the sales! Sounds like you found the magic spot for your book. :)

Ms Kitty said...

So far, so good.

I'm pleased with the results. There are speculations about the number of e-book sales and what this will mean in the long term.

Me, I'm just thrilled to be off the mulch layer and have a way to launch 'Swallow the Moon' in a few weeks.

Dwight Okita said...

The free giveaway is turning out to be the best part of the Prime lending library. For author's anyway. I also had lots of free downloads. Now I'll be watching to see a bump in my actual sales in the coming week.



Ms Kitty said...

I can't believe it jumped back up the chart again this morning.

It was barely hanging on last night but was in the mid-list again at 9 am EST.

I wouldn't KEEP a book exclusive to Amazon after 90 days, but I can live with being exclusive in order to launch.

HOWEVER - I want the paperback available via Create Space before I try something like that. Then they have the option of a DTB no matter where they are.

Ms Kitty said...

Quick update - LDL has been flirting with the bottom rung of the UK Romantic Suspense Bestseller's List this weekend.

Got into the #91 range.