Sunday, June 17, 2012

May Sales Voyeur

(A little late posting as my wireless connection has been iffy for the past few days. Boo.)

For me and for Steel Magnolia Press, May was a month to truly test the benefits of Select free runs. With no other marketing campaigns going -- not even a new release -- other than our collective free run on May 9 and 10, we were at the whims of free, Amazon's newest algorithms and a twitchy recommendation engine.

How did we fare? Well, it turned out that we got some nice promotional pushes during our free run that helped us tremendously. That meant most of our books saw a little spike mid-month to help buoy sales within their crucial 30-day windows that are a huge part of Amazon's algos. Whew!

It also validated my latest mantra regarding Select free: Go big or don't go at all.

The flaw in that advice, of course, is that it's difficult to know in advance whether you're going to go big or not. The best I know to do with it is to go out for one day to test the free waters and, if nothing spikes then, to pull back and wait till next time. If a book gets some nice mentions from the major sites and the downloads are ticking along, keep going.

How big is big? For us, it looks like 3000 freeloads is the minimum to make a difference on a book's own, when it's not propped up by other campaigns or promotion from the other books in our inventory. Until Amazon changes its algos again, that's the deciding point for me for whether it's worth continuing a free run or not. A Top 100 spot used to be a fairly good indicator a book would do well post-free, but even though we put 7 out of 10 books into the Top 100 Free, not all of them generated enough freeloads to make good on the promise of post-free sales. So Top 100 by itself, for us, isn't big enough. And honestly, that's pretty daunting news.

I documented our free run and its results over the first week post-free in painful detail in earlier posts, so I won't rehash that here. I'll just provide the highlights to help, um, highlight the differences in sales among our books for the month based on how well they did during their free runs.

SECTOR C
#17 with 10,600 freeloads
383 sales @ $4.29
65 borrows
$1170

The Warlock's Daughter
#24 with 9700 freeloads
187 sales @ 2.99
21 borrows
$380

The Rent-A-Groom
#32 with 9000 freeloads
347 sales @ 2.99
48 borrows
$740

Out of the Dark
#42 with 7400 freeloads
180 sales @ 2.99
11 borrows
$380

A Dragon's Seduction
#89 with 3300 freeloads
326 sales @ 0.99
14 borrows
$144

Catering to the Italian Playboy
#95 with 3400 freeloads
185 sales @ 2.99
15 borrows
$376

Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever
#98 with 2570 freeloads
30 sales @ 2.99
0 borrows
$48

Gypsy Bond
#134 with 1950 freeloads
75 sales @ 0.99
1 borrow
$30

Vet Tech Tales
#145 with 1600 freeloads
249 sales @ 0.99
14  borrows
$120

Spoil of War
Price Matched - 1924 freeloads
67 sales @ 3.27 (+Apple)
$136 (+Apple Royalties)






Cumulative in May across SECTOR C, Vet Tech Tales and Spoil of War (could I be more genre-diverse?), my royalties came to $1326 with a few iTunes sales for Spoil still to be reported.

SECTOR C crossed two exciting-for-me milestones in May:
  • Over 5000 copies sold
  • Over $10,000 earned
Steel Magnolia Press as a whole is coming along nicely right now as well. Jennifer re-released a novella in June, and we're gearing up to start releasing her 36 rights-reverted novels in July, along with new novellas by Lindy Corbin and Tamelia Tumlin. Cumulative over 2012 (Jan-May, excluding the Extinct anthology), SMP has seen the following:
  • Copies Sold - 19,169
  • Borrowed - 1358
  • Downloaded Free - 168,600
  • Royalties - $24,580
I'll have some comparisons between the free run in May and the one in June in my next post.

And don't forget the June Brides Celebration starting Wednesday, June 20, where you'll find some incredible deals on bridal romances by Pat McLinn, Sandra Edwards, Shadonna Richards, Geralyn Dawson and Jennifer Blake. Check back here for links on the day! 

3 comments:

Landra said...

I'm super excited for Sector C's success. I love it, and now my big questions: When will you have a new book for us Phoenix?

As always I love your posts, and enjoy celebrating the wins.

Jo-Ann said...

Sector c is a great story, very well written, and deserves its success.
Well done, Phoenix, and I, too, am looking forward to the next ne.
j

Jo-Ann said...

Sector c is a great story, very well written, and deserves its success.
Well done, Phoenix, and I, too, am looking forward to the next ne.
j