I was just reading a blog post entitled, “Short is the New Black” and I thought…why haven’t I posted anything in…over 2 months!!!! And the answer is, in the past my posts have been long….very long….sometimes longer than a short story. And I have been too busy writing fiction to write blog posts. So I am going to try something different. Short and sweet.
The audiobook version of the third book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series, Bloody Lessons is now available, and the ebook version is 99 cents in most ebookstores for the next 2 days (May 6-7), and if you by the Kindle ebook version you get the audiobook version on audible for only $1.99) A very good deal.
Deadly Proof, the fourth book in the series, (which is also available in all major ebook stores) has been out for three months and has sold extremely well and had 56 reviews and a 4.3 star rating. I am consequently starting the process of doing the research for a new short story and the fifth book in Victorian San Francisco Mystery series.
As reported in previous posts, my 2014 strategy for keeping my books visible through KDP Select promotions wasn’t working for me any longer, so I shifted strategies to put my books out there in most ebookstores and I made the first book in my series, Maids of Misfortune, perma free. I also was fortunate enough to get a BookBub promotion for that book in January.
Part of my strategy was to make this shift before the fourth book in my series came out to make sure that the book would be discovered by fans who didn’t depend on Amazon to find their books, which is why Deadly Proof came out 2 months after the other books went off of KDP Select.
Another strategic move was to offer my ebook collection of my short stories for free for anyone who signed up for my newsletter, to try to capture a larger percentage of the people who were reading the perma free book. I also started using Facebook ads for that perma free book (rather than periodic promotions with the various competitors to BookBub.
Finally, I have been writing a book that will the first in a new (non-historical) series, a collaborative effort with other authors (including my daughter) that will be announced shortly. My hope was that this would keep me writing steadily while I was doing the research for the next historical work.
For perma free to work, you have to keep that perma free book visible. On Amazon that has been easy, with Maids of Misfortune staying in the top 5 of the historical mystery free list since January. The result is that in April the average number of daily downloads has remained high at 137 copies a day. My downloads in non-Amazon stores are more difficult to measure because I publish through Draft2Digital and neither Kobo nor Barnes and Noble report free downloads. But for Apple and GooglePlay combined, my average number of downloads a day of Maids of Misfortune for April was 51.
Occasionally sites that feature free books have featured this first book in the series (without any cost to me), and the Facebook ad for the perma free book that has been running for a month has increased the likes for my author page and resulted in a more than 5% click through rate (percentage of people who got the Facebook ad who then clicked on the link to see the book), which seems a decent return on a tiny investment (click throughs are costing me 17 cents per click.)
Perma free only works well for an author if people who read the book that is free actually go on to buy other books by that author. This has been the nicest result for my strategic shift. November 2014, before I made Maids of Misfortune perma free or went off of KDP Select, I sold on average for all my books (ebooks, print, audio, etc) 6.7 books a day. If you included borrows through KDP Select, the average went up to 16 books a day.
In March 2015, the last complete month I have statistics for, I sold 100 books a day (which included all versions of all my books–not short stories.). This is a combination of sell-through, selling books through more than Amazon, and the publication of the new book, Deadly Proof (which has more than compensated for the fact that I am not getting any direct revenue for the ebook sales of Maids of Misfortune.)
The combination of the perma free book and offering my collection of short stories free has dramatically increased my rate of subscriptions to my newsletter. In the 4 months before these two changes, my average number of subscription a month was 13. My average afterwards has been 47 a month. Not world shaking–but very satisfactory.
Finally, I am very pleased with the way that having a non-historical fiction series going while I do research has increased my productivity. This WIP, which started out as a short story, then a novella, has so engaged me that it is now going to be a book. I have 44,000 words written, and my plan is to finish the draft by the middle of June (it will be much shorter than my historicals) so that it will come out with the other works in this collaborative enterprise September 1, 2015. This would mean that I will have published a book six months after my last book (instead of taking the 1 1/2 to 2 years it has taken me between books.) A definite improvement in productivity and one that has been very rewarding creatively.
Ok, maybe this wasn’t short, but I hope it was informative.
Meanwhile, do think about ordering Maid of Misfortune for free or Bloody Lessons for only 99 cents as the perfect gifts for Mothers Day!
M. Louisa Locke, May 6, 2015