Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mid-Month Update

First piece of business, we’ll continue to be donating proceeds from the sale of the Extinct anthology through the shopping weekend. We’ve sold a few copies and made a few dollars, but it would be nice to present the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal with a bit larger virtual check, if possible.


We reached Query 100 yesterday, so Yay! And Boo! I’ll still accept revisions from the queriers who haven’t yet submitted any. And in future, those of you who have been hanging around the site and commenting are more than welcome to send along your query for critting.

You may have noticed we’ve had a flurry of synopses. We’ll have a new one for critting on Monday and a revision to look at on Tuesday. The problem with a lot of synopses in a row is burnout from our critters. Generosity of time extends only so far. Same conditions apply for synopses now as for queries, please.

Mid-Month Sales

Since upping my price for Spoil of War to $2.99 on July 1, sales have dropped off pretty dramatically. The book has been buoyed by some very, very lovely reviews, which I'm sure are helping to keep it from tanking completely. Rank-wise on Amazon, it's been hanging out in the mid-20Ks to mid-30Ks on average.

22 – Amazon US
00 – Amazon UK/Germany
03 – Barnes and Noble
03 – Smashwords

28 – Total through July 15

As a point of reference, I sold 184 copies at 99c in June. As another point of reference, Spoil has made about $55 so far this month compared to about $65 in all of June.

Smashwords is having a Summer Sale and through that campaign I’ve got Spoil at 50% off through July 31 if you have the secret coupon code (SSW50). All 3 sales have come through that campaign.

Through another Smashwords Facebook campaign, I also have it available for FREE through today only (Saturday – Eastern Time, I think) with coupon code RR55E. It’s been downloaded 16 times so far (I don't count the freebies in the sales figures I report here).

It’s available on Smashwords in all formats, but I sell direct through Amazon and B&N for two reasons:

  1. I can keep track of the sales myself in near-real-time on those sites (and I’m all about control, baby)
  2. Important to the buyer, I’m able to add a couple of bells-and-whistles to the Kindle and nook versions that the Smashwords conversion tool can’t handle
For example, I use graphics for the title on the title page, for chapter headings and for chapter breaks. E-readers can’t handle special fonts, so the graphics add a little character to the pages that very few of the self-pubbed works have. But Smashwords kept kicking back the graphics, so I had to reformat a blander edition for them.

That means you won’t get all the pretty inside stuff if you buy from Smashwords, but if you get it free do you really care?

Mid-Month Marketing Observations

I promised to be transparent, even – and especially – about stuff that isn’t working well. In order to stop spamming my personal Twitter thread with buy-my-book pleas, I opened a separate account last week to put out a few tailored tweets to hashtag threads where there aren’t really any conversations happening: #kindle #nook #historicalromance #historicalfiction #romance #ereads, etc.

I’m getting click-through but no buyers. This is the same complaint I’ve heard from others when it comes to ads on Facebook and Goodreads. Impressions but no sales. And on those sites you’re paying every time someone clicks through. Eek. I haven't sprung for any paid ads yet.

Last month, people clicked through my buy links to Amazon 138 times. Result: zero sales.

This month, I’ve had 75 clicks. I’m absolutely delighted to say that the one person who bought something purchased the Extinct anthology as well as a few other books. So yay! Money for the Tasmanian Devil Appeal! I’ll even donate the commission from Amazon Associates to the Appeal. My cut for the person buying 4 books total after clicking over to Amazon using one of my special links: 64 cents (~45p). Sorry it's not more, little Tassie devils, but happy that it's about $2.75 total for that sale for you.

Some of the clicks were mine when I tested them before I sent messages. So out of roughly 200 legitimate clicks total over about 30 days, one person followed through with a buy.

Because I can’t have multiple Associate links, when I use one of those links that Amazon tracks, I have no way of knowing which link it was that was clicked. The person who bought Extinct might have been one of you lovely blog friends who clicked the link in my sidebar. It could have been from where I’ve promo’d the Tassie Devil campaign on Facebook. Or on Twitter. It could have been from someone who saw one of my own Tweets or who saw a re-Tweet from someone else’s account. Or shared the link on Facebook. I just don't know.

That would be bad if there were people clicking away and lots of buying was going on. Because there are virtually no sales from the tweeting I’ve been doing, it doesn’t really matter that I don’t know where the sale originated. The way I’m using Twitter obviously isn’t working. And, yeah, while I’m pretty lame at it to begin with, this marketing experiment validated that guerilla tactics on Twitter – at least for me – aren’t the way to go. I’d love to hear how others are doing on this front!


I’ve been taking lots of pictures, so I’m planning a couple of posts mid-week that are all about the beasties. I’ve missed showing them off -- and they've missed being shown off!



Landra said...

I have a couple of folks who were wanting Spoil without using Kindle or Nook so I will spread the news about Smashwords for sure.

Also, the Save the.. campaign is something I can help with or at least I'll try. Let you know more soon.

I also saw some of those new Spoil reviews and I think in the long run success is inevitable.

Caitlin said...

great news on your sales updates! :D Looking forward to seeing the pics of your beasties - crits and critters - great combination! :D

lexcade said...

I agree with Caitlin. Spoil is fan-freaking-tastic. I think it'll snowball.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Thank you, Landra. I so appreciate your kindness and all the helping out you've been so willing to do.

We're certainly not locked in to the Save the Devils campaign ending on Sunday. I registered with the charity and actually added to the form that it might be more open-ended. Everyone seemed fine with that, including the authors. We even had sales at the end of June that I'm counting toward the campaign because I'm guessing some people jumped to buy prematurely.

@Caitlin: Drat! I wish I'd had that -- Crits and Critters -- idea earlier! :o)

Phoenix Sullivan said...

@Lexcade: Thank you!

Caitlin said...

@Phoenix - well you can use that Crits and Critters next time as a title when you post your pics! :D