Let me start by saying thank you very much to everyone who reblogged my free promotion post. I know I’ve made a number of extra ‘sales’ though that, and I appreciate it very much.
As I write this, it is about 8 hours since the promo finished, and I thought it might be interesting to give some feedback, statistics and general musings on how it went. Hopefully it’ll be of use to others planning to do the same.
Basic stats first: I shifted a total of 1273 copies of my book in the five days the promotion ran for. I realise that in the grand scheme of things that’s nothing (I mean, Dan Brown probably sells that many copies of his book in five hours), but to a little bottom feeder like me that’s a pretty big deal, especially since I was selling virtually nothing before this.
The fun thing about it is that Amazon gives exact numbers for each site, so I know that I sold only one copy on Amazon.fr (ze French, zey do not like me!), but a surprising 122 on Amazon.de. I would have expected to shift the most copies through the three English-language sites, but strangely enough I only got six sales on Amazon.ca.
Before I went into this, the general advice was that the longer the promotion runs, the better it is. Based on personal experience I have to dispute this. I sold around half of the total on the first day alone, and after that the sales dropped off sharply. It might have been different if I’d made it into the top 100 free rankings, but the highest I managed to get to on both .com and .co.uk was about #310. Personally I think that whenever I do this next, I’ll run it for two or maybe three days.
So, let’s talk about expectations. With regards to what I was hoping to get out of this, then it’s two things really: 1) more reviews for The Ritual and 2) more sales for The Conspiracy. Let’s say that 10% of the people who got it will eventually review it, that will give me another 120-ish reviews. In the same vein, if only 10% of the people who got it liked it enough to buy The Conspiracy, that’s another 120-ish copies sold. It’s early days, but I do already have one extra review on Amazon.co.uk (five-star too, pretty chuffed with that), and I have also sold a few extra copies of The Conspiracy, again on .co.uk. This is another thing that baffles me – I know I am based in the UK and my book is written in British English, but it’s not like Americans don’t understand this. I do wonder whether it is something to do with the fact that my book has a fair amount of sex in it, and Americans appear to have more of an issue with that, but I honestly don’t know.
What I think I will get out of this are a few things. First of all, I’m expecting to see my first two- and one-star reviews. This is not a problem in itself, I just hope that they’re going to be a little more than just ‘omg this book sucked’. I am fully aware that not everyone is going to like my book, but I do hope that the overall rating will stay good.
I also think that whatever reviews I’m going to get will take ages to come through. If I use myself as an example, I know that I have downloaded a number of free books on my Kindle, and have yet to read them. It stands to reason that many other people will do the same to my book. Whether they will bother to review it at all once they do finish also remains to be seen, because I know the majority of people just can’t be arsed. My estimate of 10% might be highly overrated, but we’ll see.
Ultimately, what I really want is feedback and honesty. I have so far had mostly positive responses to my book, but it’s not being translated into sales, and I don’t know why. Is my hook not engaging enough? Is the cover the problem? Are there people slagging the book off behind my back? Is it simply that I don’t have enough reviews for people to take the risk? If anyone can offer any insights or suggestions on this then I’d be very interested to hear them. I believe my book has merit, or I’d never have thrown it out to the masses, but unless people tell me where I’m going wrong, I’m never going to get it right.