It has been 3 months since I wrote a substantive blog post. So you might be wondering, what have I been doing? The answer is simple, I actually started taking some of my own advice, and I have been concentrating on writing and getting more work out there and available rather than spending so much time marketing or giving everyone else advice. Did you miss me?
Mostly, I have been writing short stories for my Victorian San Francisco series. If you want to see my most recent one, Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong, you can buy it for 99 cents here. The story I have almost completed, Madam Sibyl’s First Client, is going to be available for free in June for a limited time to those who have signed up for my newsletter. Additionally, I am working on bringing my short stories together as a collection with an extended historical essay. This way I can make them available at a reasonable cost in print for those who prefer this method of delivery.
I have also been collaborating with my new narrator, Alexander Haag, on getting my short stories out as audio books. If you sign up for the great new audiobook promotional site AudaVoxx, you will get a chance to win audiobook versions of Dandy Detects, The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage, and Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong in the coming months.
Finally, I have been doing the research and prep work for Deadly Proof, the fourth book in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, which features women in the printing industry. I hope it will be out in early 2015.
I haven’t stopped marketing altogether (after all, this whole blog could be called marketing.) But I have accepted that for my books the wild west days of huge sales bumps after a free promotion are over. I still think a well-planned (and advertised) free promotion can be an excellent tool for a relatively unknown author who wishes to get their work visible and to obtain enough reviews to convince readers to give their books a try.
However, my novels already have more reviews than I ever thought possible, I am evidently not so much of an unknown any longer, and free promotions aren’t giving my books enough of a sales bump to justify high promotional costs in time and money. In addition, with only 3 books in my series, the perma-free or discounted approach for the first book in the series doesn’t make sense. Maybe some day, after book 4 or 5?
But as I have written here before, I have found that doing a monthly 99 cent Kindle Countdown on one of my novels generates enough income to supplement the recent anemic sales of those books at full price. In addition, these monthly promotions keep the books visible enough in the main sub-categories so that those sales don’t disappear altogether.
Scheduling the promotions takes about 5 minutes (and the price drop goes down automatically so I don’t have to worry about spacing out and forgetting to do the price change.) Most of the work in getting promotional support takes about two hours a month before the promotion begins (applying for promotional ads) and about 15 minutes each day of the promotion (doing tweets and facebook announcements). In short, none of this takes away too much time from my writing.
For those of you who don’t want to put your books in KDP Select or haven’t found your books sell well on a Kindle Countdown, I would hope that you are pursuing the alternative strategy of getting your books into as many bookstores (physical and internet) and libraries (as print or ebooks.) This way, even if your sales are anemic in one venue, the total sales over all the venues should add up (particularly if you do a promotion.)
Meanwhile, I am kicking off the summer holidays with another Kindle Countdown. This time, Uneasy Spirits, the second book in my Victorian San Francisco series, will be 99 cents between Sunday May 25 and Saturday May 31 in the US Kindle Store and the UK Kindle Store.
M. Louisa Locke, May 25, 2014
5 Replies to “Summer Kickoff: Update and Uneasy Spirits Sale”
Many congratulations on all your successes!
Louisa, when you do the count down, do you promote it via sites like BookGorilla, BargainBooksy, etc?
Did you advertise on sites like BookGorilla. Etc., to promote your kindle countdown deal?
Last month I did a number of .99 cent promotions, keeping the price constant at .99 through out the month and while I sold more books, I made less money, even using the promotional sites.
Thanks for your insights.
Yes. I have tried a combination of sites. Trying to see what works. I have done BookGorilla, Pixel of Ink, KBoards, Kindle Books and Tips, boosted Facebook post, etc. Trying to spend no more than $70–80. I have always made money–but to a large degree because the KC you get 70% royalty, and the added benefit that KDP is starting to do more promotion of KC (sending out a weekly email, etc.) Bookbub is worth it if you break through to top 100,which I did once, but if you don’t-you can actually make less than if you hadn’t plunked down all that money. So BookBub can be a risk for 99 cents. Depends on the genre, the popularity of the book, etc.
Hope this helped,
Yes, thank you! Like you, I’ve found free promotion to be less effective than in the past. I will try the kindle countdown….although, if this is also losing it’s effectiveness, I wonder if this lessens the reason for amazon’s KDP exclusivity.