February 29, 2012

book sales statistics

So it's been a little more than a week since my new book, Semper, went free in the Kindle store for three days during the San Francisco Writers Conference. There are few models to use to predict sales after coming off a free period, so I didn't know what to expect. In short, I'd hoped for more but am still thrilled at the response.

The reports I get from Amazon, while interesting, don't tell the whole story. I can get month-to-date downloads, and I can get weekly royalty payments, but there's nothing showing day-by-day downloads (at least, not that I can find), so I'm estimating a bit here. Worse, the free period straddled a boundary between two royalty periods. Tough to know exactly what happened since I have an actual life and couldn't track daily (more on the actual life in a future post).

Prior to the free period, the book had been live for about two weeks and had been purchased 28 times, plus two print copies. It had not been borrowed from the Kindle lending library, and I had three reviews (one 4-star and two 5-star) posted on amazon.com.

During the three day free period, the book was downloaded about 2,775 times in the US and 20 times in the UK. I also got a handful in Germany and one in France. I was pretty jazzed about all that activity... even if only 20% of those people read it, that's still several hundred more than I could ever cull from friends and family alone.

Fast forward to today, nine days out from the end of the free period. In those nine days, I've had
  • 40 new sales of the ebook
  • 13 new sales of the print version
  • 10 new borrows in the KLL
  • 12 new reviews (one new 4-star and 11 new 5-star)
  • 15 in-person (signed) sales of the print version
Although the book's rankings in the paid store have been nothing to write home about (I had hoped for much better coming off the free period), I noticed that searching for "Semper" on Amazon now puts my book at the top of the results. Not that anyone searches for Semper, of course.

For all those downloads and sales, I've earned a pittance. Pennies, really. Enough to buy a few bottles of whiskey and a few cups of coffee, which should carry me through the writing of the sequel.

But I'm in this for the long haul, and I don't care about the money. So overall, these results are incredibly fun for me. The idea that 22 people in the UK and 6 people in Germany have my ebook, along with several thousand in the US, tickles me to no end.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments on the book? You can even feel free to tell me how evil you think Amazon is, or whatever. So far, it's been awesome for me.

February 18, 2012

SF Writers Conference at the midpoint

Midway through the second day of the San Francisco Writers Conference, and I have to say it's the best one in five years.

This conference tends to be focused more on the business of publishing than on the craft of writing, though there are hugely valueable sessions on craft. The topics range from nonfiction to poetry, and the attendees, speakers, and staff engage and collaborate and chat and have a good time.

Having just self-published my own book after four years of volunteering at the conference and learning about the industry, I was thrilled to see the session lineup. Instead of hunkering down and giving the floor exclusively to the established industry, the conference organizers arranged a diverse slate of presenters, both traditional publishing and independent publishig, craft and business.

I think it's worth noting that the conference is put on by a pair of literary agents. So for them to embrace vigorous and healthy discussion on what's really going on in the industry is admirable. Maybe it helps that San Francisco is both a literary center and a technology center, set apart from the New York publishing establishment.

Every session I've worked has been great this year. Of greatest interest to me were the two sessions about self publishing with Smashwords founder Mark Coker. Well spoken and stright to the point, Mark clearly articulated his thoughts on why self publishing is becoming the future, and why print is "dead" for self-publishers. I was particularly interested in Mark's comments since I chose to launch my own book through the Amazon KDP Select program, which means I'm exclusive with Amazon for at least the first 90 days of my book's existence. At the end of those 90 days, I very well may expand to Smashwords. Yes, Mark was that impressive.

Overall, the conference is high energy and has a positive vibe to it this year. There's a kind of a buzz of energy a step above the last year or two. I credit the organizers, Michael Larson and Elizabeth Pomada, and the others running the conference, with that. They genuinely want to bring the industry together and talk about what's really going on so authors can make the best of their talents and efforts.

Well done.

Personal Book Promo Update

By now everyone who knows me online knows I am in the middle of a three-day free promo of my book, Semper. It went free at the Kindle store Friday morning and will be free through Sunday night, in conjunction with the conference. So far the promo has exceeded my hopes. At 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon (San Francisco time), here are some statistics:

  • #128 in the overall Kindle free store
  • #22 in all children's books
  • #1 in children's action/adventure

The high water marks, which happened early Saturday morning, appear to be

  • #109 in the overall Kindle free store
  • #20 in all children's books
  • #1 in children's action/adventure

As for actual downloads, here are the statistics so far:

  • 2,370 new downloads in the US
  • 18 new downloads in the UK
  • 4 new downloads in Germany
  • 1 new download in France

The promotion continues through Sunday, with the addition of my short story "Distractions" also going free for the day.

If you haven't gone and gotten your copy of Semper, go get it! Please! Then come back and let me konw what you thought of it.

February 16, 2012

haiku wednesday - do-over day

This week's words are angelic, foster, ruin
Where did the week go? Today is do-over Wednesday. Or Second Wednesday if you prefer. Because I apparently missed the first one. Reminder that my novel will be available for free download February 17 through 19. Not that hard to click through a few links for a pal, eh? Starting with this one, OK? Thanks!

foster a false love
angelic intentions fade
we fall to ruins

her angelic eyes
foster love, hold back the storm
shield us from ruin

sing angelic songs
pretend to foster faith's love
while plotting ruin

February 8, 2012

haiku wednesday - sharp as a... um... whatever edition

This week's words are control, flesh, razor
February already, and it's my first 3WW. Disgraceful. Hey, did you see I published my novel? It'll be available free ebook download February 17 through 19. Mark that on your calendar, ya?

mind like a razor
in my wheelchair, my one wish
give me flesh control

my wife's razor stare
can't hide the bare flesh on stage
mind control won't work

flesh peels back in strips
her razor gives me control
cold winter's murder