AETI: The Dry Month

Hey all.

As I talked about in the post regarding what I learned self-publishing, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do when it comes to free book deals anymore. I originally had planned to have the Kindle version of An Epilogue to Innocence be free one day a month for the next twelve months. After all, things were going great. I had managed to get to the point where I only needed 17 Kindle copies of the book to be sold for me to break even on editing costs. I even had the hubris to list how many copies of the book would need to be sold in multiple different formats just to hit that break even total.

That was on August 6th. I had sold my most recent copy of the book prior to that date on August 3rd. While the three-day gap between book sales of any kind was tied for my longest gap since launch, I figured things were bound to turn around soon. After all, I had just done my first free Kindle book day, which went really well. Sales of the book exceeded my expectations in July. Everything was grand.

The problem is that it’s currently August 27th. And since August 3rd, I’ve sold one copy of my book. Funny thing is, when I was originally writing this post (August 25th), I still hadn’t sold that copy as of then. The drought for the Kindle version has been even longer, as that date would be July 27th. Not only was this not what I expected, around the 15th of the month, it got me pretty down in the dumps. Work wasn’t going well, my neck was killing me, the weather was unbearably warm[1], a number of people who had promised book reviews still hadn’t written them (things come up, I get it), and then my book sales drying up out of nowhere made me pretty sad.

Fortunately, between a few of the people in the #MillennialTalk Twitter chat reminding me that the road to success takes time, as well as some people at work providing me encouragement, I’m not down on myself quite so much anymore. Sure, I’m still a bit saddened with how things have gone so far in August. That said, I have a plan to fix it.

How Kindle Countdown & Free Deals Work

After doing my first free book deal, I realized a few things about Amazon’s Kindle Countdown deals and free book deals that I didn’t before.

  • You can only do a Kindle Countdown deal (reduced price) OR free book deal withing a KDP Select enrollment period[2]. That eliminates the original free book/countdown schedule I was going to use.
  • You get 5 free book days via Kindle. I’m still unclear if this is per KDP Select period or ever. That said, I’ll be able to give more of an update on that in mid-October.
  • While page reads from those who check my book out through Kindle Unlimited do give me profit (albeit a VERY small amount, as I learned in July), people who get the free book do not generate that same profit.

While I should have a better plan of attack long-term as a result of knowing all this, not to mention once I find out more when I go into the second KDP Select period, it doesn’t help me out a ton in August/September/October.

So…what now?

First and foremost, now that I know (better) how Kindle’s deal options work, I can plan a little more effectively for them. I know that I’m going to do a Kindle Countdown deal some time in November. Part of me wants to do the deal around Black Friday/Cyber Monday, as I know that’s when people are most likely to open up their wallets for something that’s on sale. That said, part of me wants to find a way to raise the price on my book during that weekend, a la Cards Against Humanity. I also really want to do something charity related around Christmas time, so a Black Friday Countdown deal is probably off the table[3].

This means I’ll probably do a Countdown deal some time in late October or mid November. Unfortunately, this would only impact the price of the Kindle copy of the book. I’ve yet to find a way to uniformly lower the price of An Epilogue to Innocence across all platforms for its paperback version, so that might not be in the cards. We’ll see though.

Is there anything I can do to help?

For the 3-4 of you that are asking this, yes. Here’s how you can help.

Now: Just share the links to buy the book and encourage people to buy An Epilogue to Innocence. If you’ve written a review and you feel your review would help convince people to buy, share that. If you’ve read the book but haven’t written a review, please share a review on Amazon or Goodreads[4].

In the coming months: As we get into September/October, I’ll be writing another post talking about what the coming Kindle Countdown deal will be, as well as what I’m thinking about doing from a charity standpoint during the holiday season. Any eyes you would be willing to get on that post would be greatly appreciated.

 

So that’s where I’m at. Sorry it’s not the best (read: hey! You get a sale now!) update, but it’s as informative as I can be at the moment. Hopefully the next book-related post will be talking about the Countdown deal and a turnaround in sales leading up to that deal.

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