One Year of Being a Published Author

June 27th, 2016 was a monumental day for me. It was the day that my first book, An Epilogue to Innocence, went on sale. It was available at that time via direct purchase on Kindle, as well as available for pre-order via CreateSpace and Amazon[1]. I’ve shared quite a bit about the publishing process, as well as the twist and turns things took both before publishing and after. If you care about reading those stories, click on the links in the previous sentence. What I’d rather do today is to have a bit of reflection on my book, on being an author, and on what I could have done well/did do well in the process.

When a fellow author found out I was going the self-publishing route, they gave me a bit of advice regarding sales. They told me not to expect to turn a profit, rather I should expect to lose money — potentially a significant amount — if I took my book to market. While their statement was technically wrong, the spirit of needing to temper my expectations for my book’s sales was correct. My book broke even last December, as sales related to a charity drive I did were just enough to edge into profit territory.

That said, even with a handful of sales this year, the amount of money I’ve pocketed is minimal. I went from first draft to published product with minimal financial cost on my end. I’ve run zero advertising campaigns anywhere that I had to pay for. Every review that’s been written for my book either falls into the category of pre-release readers who wrote reviews or people who have submitted their own reviews out of their own kindness. My costs were the cost to have the book edited, the cost to get a ISBN from CreateSpace, and the cost to have a handful of copies shipped to me that I in turn mailed out to people I had promised copies of the book to. With all that said, I think the amount of money I’ve personally made off the book is enough to buy a Chipotle burrito for my wife and I. No guac or drinks though[2].

Speaking of that charity drive, it was definitely both the most rewarding and most disappointing part of my first year as a published author. On one hand, I got to donate a bit of money to a cause I care a lot about — the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. On the other hand, the amount of money raised through the charity drive fell short of one-quarter of my mental goal for the drive itself. Limited advertising was definitely a reason for that, however I also think that other deserving causes got far more attention than suicide prevention in the wake of the 2016 US election. Had I hitched my wagon to a different cause, I think it would have done better. But suicide prevention is a cause I care a lot about, so I have no regrets about choosing the AFSP for the donation.

As for my book itself, shortly after I published, I saw a video from someone (I think John Green?) talking about how the most stressful part of being an author is seeing people misinterpret work you’ve written, and since it’s already published, you can’t change it. That idea, combined with the fact that I re-read my book so many times as part of the publishing process and wished I had changed some things, made me go back and think about each of the short stories in the book.

  • Ljepota Oni Izlučivati – This story ended up being one of the few in the book that I didn’t have any strong opinion changes about even after a year after the book went to market. If I had the opportunity to do it over again, I wouldn’t have led off the book with this story, however it definitely would have stayed. A year on, no one has found the hidden storyline within this story, so I feel like it was written really well for what it was meant to be.
  • Phosphor and Fear – This was the original story that was supposed to start the book, however I was convinced not to lead the book with it when someone told me that no one’s going to want to keep reading the book if I lead off with depression art. Unnecessary mental illness jokes aside, I think this story would have benefited from being a bit longer, particularly after the story’s time skip. The fact that I’d go back and change this one to make it longer has impacted some of the work I’ve done over the last year, particularly the first two chapters of the AI Project series that I posted this spring.
  • A Delayed First Date – Meh. It was a good premise. I took a risk trying to write from a point-of-view I didn’t understand. Even with research and interviews to try to write it better, this story hasn’t aged well to me. I mean, it’s fine. It’s not boring. I still love the concept. But I don’t like this specific story as much as I used to.
  • Soma – It was my favorite story before I decided to compile the book into a published entity. It’s still one of my favorites I’ve written a year on from publishing the book (though not my favorite anymore). I really need to keep focusing on adding heavy amounts of emotion to my writing. When it works, it really works. This is one of the stories in the book that I’ve received almost unanimous positive feedback about. Nothing I’d change here.
  • Elk Ridge – I’m so confused by this story and the reader reaction to it. Both me and my editor thought this was the weakest story in the book, even after adding quite a bit of length to it. Yet most people who have given feedback thought it was one of the better stories in the book. The ending is what seems to be divisive. I personally hate the ending and would re-write it if I had the chance. The whole ghostly spirit being released from a demolished building angle is kind of cliche and the longer it’s been since I published[3], the less I like it. Readers liked it though. I have no idea what people want.
  • The Strongest Feelings Are On the Inside – The reaction to this story was by far the most surprising of any story that went into the book. I received ZERO negative feedback on this story prior to publishing. Considering it was one of the few stories that had been on the blog prior to going in the book, this was doubly confusing. People were split down the middle as to what they thought was the biggest issue with this story — either it was too long compared to the rest of the book’s stories[4] or they were upset that the story’s main villain was bisexual. Remember what I said about stuff getting taken out of context? In context, it’s a story about a woman who loves someone of her same sex who doesn’t love her back and she doesn’t feel totally comfortable with it because of her religious background. She then tries to repress it with a deeper dive into cult-like religious practices to try to “fix” herself. Then, when her love dies, she has a mental break, using her warped religious views to exact revenge on those who hurt her beloved, going so far as to kidnap a lookalike and treat that lookalike as if she were the departed woman. Then the villain chooses to die once she finally has closure through that surrogate. That wasn’t the takeaway by some readers though. It’s a learning experience on a lot of levels.
  • Awkward? – The other story in the book that I didn’t particularly like but people loved. It was the closest thing to a light-hearted story in the book, and it was only included to serve as a change of pace following the previous story. Most people thought it was funny. I found it corny. If I did it all over again, this and A Delayed First Date would be cut in favor of making other stories longer.
  • Use As Directed – Along with Awkward First Date, this is the story I did the most research for prior to writing it. I’m really happy with how it turned out. Feedback was largely good, it had a neutral ending that I liked, and apparently I did a decent job at representing a perspective of someone with a mental illness fairly and objectively. This story makes me happy.
  • Laments of a Disillusioned Twenty Something – Oh my fucking god I was so whiny in this story. I’d re-write this story to be something more like what happens in one of the two storylines of Janus if I had it to do again.
  • Tia – This has become my favorite story in the book over time, however as one reviewer said, they really wished it was longer. I agree. It’s a very powerful story, but I could have done so much more with it. Definitely my biggest disappointment story-wise for that reason.

As for me and how being a published author has impacted me…it really hasn’t. As I mentioned, there hasn’t been a financial impact of any kind. It’s not like my social media life has taken off[5]. Even though I still a see a copy or two of my book purchased every now and again, the book sits largely dormant now. I definitely haven’t been able to make a career change to be a full-time author…not that I’d be able to if currently proposed healthcare plans pass anyway.

I’m still writing though. I’m working on a couple of different projects as a writer, as well as trying to get some work together as a copy editor. If anything my real job prevents me from writing as much as I want or need to due to mental fatigue. That said, it’s largely been a positive experience, in spite of my gripes. I’ve learned you can’t please everyone, even if you have the best intentions. I’ve learned that I can produce quality work. And I’ve learned above all else that I love writing — even if my family still doesn’t know I’m a published author, even a year on.

Advertisements

AETI: Free Kindle Book Promotion (#3)

Hi there. It’s May, which means it’s been around three months since I did my last free Kindle book giveaway. The last one went over super well — flatteringly so even — that I decided I wanted to do another one. I’m not expecting downloads anywhere close to what happened last time, however I figured I’d get my book out there for free.

So…if you haven’t picked up An Epilogue to Innocence on Kindle yet, you can get it for free from Monday, May 8th at midnight Eastern until Friday, May 12th at 11:59pm Eastern. For those of you who have already picked up the book and read it, thank you so much. If you would consider reviewing it on Goodreads or Amazon, that would be lovely. Better yet, if you could consider encouraging others to download the book (and spread the word about the event), that would be lovely too.

Oh…and if you’d like to financially support me and my writing, pick up a paperback copy of An Epilogue to Innocence while you’re at it. That’s your call though, of course.

Thanks so much for your time and attention.

And Then Something Peculiar Occurred

The life of a self-published author is difficult and strange. This is especially true when you’re acting as a self-published author who doesn’t keep an incredibly interactive social media presence. I understand that being more active on social media platforms could certainly help my writing career. I made a choice a few years ago not to be active on most social media. At the time, the decision was based out of fear and frustration, though now I’ve chosen to keep that stance because social media just isn’t interesting to me.

I say all of this to talk about how my free book event that occurred this week went. I did a free book event back in July of last year, giving away 10 copies of the book across three days. Extrapolating that out to five days, I expected to give away somewhere in between 5 and 20 copies of the book. I had no reason to expect anything else.

Through 4pm or so on Monday, my expectations were pretty accurate. I’d given away 2 copies of the book, putting me on pace for somewhere in the middle of that estimate range. Considering most of my friends had a copy of the book — either a hard copy, a digital copy, or both — I figured my best hope was someone randomly scrolling through the free Kindle books and buying because they liked the cover art[1].

And then something peculiar happened…

I got home from work and saw the number had tripled. Six. Took a nap because I felt like death. Woke up twenty minutes later to find the total at 11. My wife got home, bringing dinner for her as well as my congested and feverish self. The count was up to 17.

So the night went. In a feeling I had never experienced before, I was able to refresh Kindle’s publishing reports and literally watch as new downloads of my book posted to the account. The day ended with An Epilogue to Innocence being downloaded 56 times. That’s not a giant amount, but it’s 5.6 times the number of downloads of the entire Kindle event I ran near launch.

When I woke up the next morning, I was able to grab this picture off Amazon.

Category Rank

I had risen to #64 in free Kindle books for Single Author Fiction Short Stories. Is that a super specific category? Yes it is. Did I care? No I did not.

By the end of the week, my rank had tailed off a bit. I went from that #64 rank in category to the mid 200s. My overall Kindle rank had fallen from ~3,500th to ~8,000th. I really didn’t care though. After all, I couldn’t explain where the sudden burst in downloads had come from. I still can’t explain it. I had three people who I know personally reach out to me letting me know they got the Kindle version of the book. Still doesn’t explain the other 77 copies that were downloaded last week.

On one hand, I know there’s not a ton of reasons to get excited about 80 free copies of my book getting downloaded. It’s not like I’m making money off of them. On the other hand, this is my Kindle sales report for the last 30 days.

units-ordered

Those 80 free copies that were given away in the last 5 days? That’s literally 1.6 times the number of books — free or paid — that I’ve managed to get out there since July. For all months combined. 80 free copies given away in 5 days is 61.5% of all copies of my book in the world today. That’s why 80 free copies is a big deal. That’s why I’m celebrating this.

I don’t know who did this or how I managed to get so many copies out there. To the three people I know downloaded the book because you mentioned it to me — Kait, Jenn, and Stephanie — thank you. To the other 77 of you, thank you too. Here’s to hoping this influx of new readers means some new, positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Oh…and if you want to actually buy the book and help me out that way, that’d be awesome too. Go pick it up from Amazon or Createspace.

AETI: Free Kindle Book Promotion (#2)

Oh hi. From February 20th through February 24th, 2017, you can pick up my debut book, An Epilogue to Innocence, for free on Kindle. For a more detailed explanation as to why I’m doing what I’m doing with this event, keep reading.

If you got An Epilogue to Innocence from this event, please consider writing a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Also, regardless of if you picked up the book during the event, please share this post with your friends and encourage them to get the book for themselves.

Around six months ago, I did a free Kindle book promotion for my book, An Epilogue to Innocence. Seeing as it had been almost a half of a year since the last one I did, I figured now was a great time to do another giveaway. I’d been wanting to do one for a while, however a recent piece of polling[1] that came out made me feel like now was as good of time as any.

A Pew Research study released in November 2016 found that about a quarter (26%) of Americans haven’t read a book in the last twelve months. That number goes up if you’re specifically looking at black Americans (29%), rural Americans (32%), Hispanic Americans (40%), and Americans with a high school diploma or lower (40%).

I’m not saying my book is the best book for people to read. There are amazing authors out there that write great, inclusive, thoughtful fiction that everyone should read. Hell, I need to do a better job of representing people of color, those with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups in my work going forward. While I made an effort with An Epilogue to Innocence, there’s definitely a long way I have to go.

That said, it’s hard to continue a career in writing if I cannot fund it. While the free book event will not provide me any profit, my hope is that it can help drive paying customers who want to buy my book to the places where they can buy it. I’ll keep writing — and keep working to both improve my writing and make my writing more inclusive — regardless of the outcome of this event. I’ll do the same regardless of my book sales prior to now or going forward. But any help that you, or others, could give me, would be greatly appreciated.

Charity Drive – Final Tally

It’s over officially now. As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I was holding a charity drive with the proceeds of my book, An Epilogue to Innocence. From November 1 through December 24, all proceeds from sales of the book would be going to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. While I had to wait a little longer than I wanted to in order to announce the final totals — shipments of physical books bought on the 23rd and 24th didn’t register until the 27th — I do have a final total now.

Between physical copy sales and digital copy sales, we were able to raise $24.28 for the AFSP. Of that total, $22.22 came from purchase of physical book copies while the remaining $2.06 came from purchases of the Kindle version of the book. Admittedly this number was lower than I was hoping for, but it’s still something for a great cause. I made what was essentially a matching donation to go along with it, bringing the total donation made from this cause to $50.00.

I had gone into this endeavor with this grand idea that somehow we’d manage to raise over $100. I never shared that goal publicly, but secretly I was hoping to manage to get to that total independent of any matching donation I made. That said, the matching donation was going to happen regardless. If you’re asking people to purchase your product as part of a charity drive, it’s the least you can do.

To those of you who did buy An Epilogue to Innocence to help raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, thank you very much. Your kindness, your patronage, and your generosity is greatly appreciated. If you were just able to help spread the word in some way, be that about the book, the charity drive, of the AFSP itself, thank you too. If you did buy the book — be it as part of the charity drive or not — please go review the book on Goodreads or Amazon. I may well do something like this again in the future, so any positive reviews of the book if another charity drive happens would always be helpful.

A Series of Updates

I don’t have a particularly long post to share today. I have a couple of things in my head that I’d like to try to get written in time for Christmas and/or New Year’s, as well as a guest post that I’ve been working on coordinating. With that said, I wanted to put out a few bullet points towards items that I’ve talked about on this blog before.

Charity Drive Update

First and foremost, the charity drive I’m running where proceeds from my book are going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is coming to a close. With only seven days left as of this post, there’s been a total of $22.02 raised for the AFSP. While that’s a low number, considering that’s almost double where we were just two weeks ago, I’ll take the small progress.

If you want to buy the book as part of the drive, you have until 11:59pm on December 24th. If you purchase from the CreateSpace store, nearly double the amount of money goes to the AFSP compared to purchasing from Amazon[1]. That said, if you purchase the Kindle copy, 68% of the total cost you pay is going directly to the AFSP[2]. And if you’re one of those awesome people who has Kindle Unlimited — just reading the book gets money for the AFSP. If you know someone with Kindle Unlimited, please encourage them to read the book to raise money.

Podcast

I haven’t mentioned it in a few weeks, I do have a podcast with Samantha Clarke, blogger at Comic Wisdom. Since I last mentioned it, our podcast, Everyone Is Funnier Than Us, is now available on iTunes, Google Play, and Pocket Casts for download. So far, the podcast seems to be going quite well. If nothing else, I enjoy getting to talk behind a microphone again. It’s like I’m back on radio. Though I’m not talking sports this time, it’s still a pretty exciting experience.

If you’re someone who listens to podcasts — and if you’re a commuter, even if you don’t currently, I’d highly recommend it…it’s the one thing that keeps me sane during my long drive to work — please subscribe to our podcast and give it a listen. We’re still learning what we’re doing a bit, but overall I’ve seen a lot of growth in our content, even in only 7 episodes.

Writing Project

In my last post, I talked about how I might do a writing project wherein I’ll be writing a story over the first part of next year — ideally a chapter a week — then sharing updates with a small group of people to get feedback, make adjustments, and see what people think. I have the story idea framed out and I think I’ll be on track to start this in the new year. That said, if anyone is still interested in reading and providing feedback. I think I have two people willing to do so right now, which means I’d like to have 1-2 more to do so.

 

That’s all for now. The next update will likely be at the end of the charity drive, barring any drastic changes.

Charity Drive Update – 22 Days Left (Plus NaNoWriMo Talk)

Alright. Now that Thanksgiving and all of the shenanigans surrounding that are over, it’s time for another update on the charity drive I’m doing with my book. It wasn’t good well with the last update, with the drive on pace for a $50 donation at the end of the drive. So. Where are we now.

Yeah. About that.

I have to admit, I’m pretty upset about how it’s going. Not that it’s come out in any of my posts or anything. The short version is that the total of $9.98 raised as of last time is now at $12.24. That means that in the 21 days since the last update, one copy of the book has sold[1].

One.

I had hoped this would go over much better. I was very, very wrong. It’s upsetting to say the least. There have been some of you who have been extremely helpful in promotion for the drive — a fact for which I’m externally grateful. But the end result looks like it’s going to be putrid.

I’m going to be putting money to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention regardless. The work they do is exceptionally valuable. I just wish that more of the money going to an organization whose mission I really care about could have come from a project I really care about. Hopefully the next 22 days will go better, but I’m a realist. The best case scenario I can hope for is that the current total doubles.


On a related, yet not so related note, I wanted to talk a bit about NaNoWriMo. The annual November writing project just ended, and while I chose not to take part this year, I always love reading about those who choose to take on the arduous project. I finished NaNoWriMo in 2011 and 2015, and attempted it two other times (2009 and 2012) as well. It’s a fun project, not to mention a challenging one as well.

The one bright side to being as frustrated with the charity drive experience as I have been is that it’s given me a lot of emotions which have led to story ideas. Long, quiet morning drives have helped flesh out these thoughts a bit, and I think I know where I’m going to go with the story, at least at a very high level.

With that said, I’m looking for 2-3 readers to read the story as I write it. My goal is to be able to start writing the story by the first of the year — which will mean having my ideas storyboarded to the point that I can get the first chapter or two done on or around New Year’s  — and then to have roughly a chapter a week done from there. I honestly have no idea how long the story will be, however I’m thinking it’ll end up somewhere in the novella range (17,500 to 40,000 words)[2]. We’ll see though. It may be longer than 40,000. It definitely won’t be shorter.

If you’re interested in being one of the readers who reads and gives feedback, leave a comment. I’ll probably pick people some time shortly before Christmas.

Charity Drive Update – 43 Days Left

Now that we’re almost two weeks since the launch of my charity drive for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I wanted to share a bit of an update of where things are so far. And where we are is not good. Or maybe it’s good? I’m not really sure.

If you aren’t familiar with the event[1], all proceeds from my debut book, An Epilogue to Innocence, from November 1st through December 24th will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (specifically, the Northern Ohio branch). Because I’m a self-published author, CreateSpace, Amazon, and Kindle all take their cut of the money from the sale, but I do get a bit of money with each book.

On the right side bar, you’ll notice that through November 11th, I’ve raised $9.98 for the AFSP. If I’m being optimistic, that means I’m on track to raise just shy of $50 for the AFSP. Which isn’t what I was hoping for, but it’s something. On the downside, I’m raising less than a dollar a day. Furthermore, that $9.98 raised represents three books sold. Three[2].

I’m honestly at a bit of a loss right now. I feel that the AFSP is an amazing cause. Their work is widely praised both by independent organizations and those in the know. I feel like my book is good. Reviews have been largely very good and even when there have been negative reviews, the majority of the bad reviews can be summed up as “good book, but not my cup of tea”. I’m sharing information about the drive, links to buy, and other info as often as I can. People have been helping me share the info — some of you very regularly — across multiple platforms, even ones I don’t have.

This begs the question in my mind: why? Why isn’t this going well. I never envisioned I’d be able to raise thousands of dollars for charity with this project. But honestly I’d love to be able to say I used my book to give hundreds of dollars to this cause. The AFSP deserves it. They do damn good work and we need them more than ever.

I’ve gone through more than one rough spell in terms of how I felt about my book’s sales. But this one hurts a bit more. Sure, sales are up slightly from October. That said, I literally wrote a post telling people not to buy my book that month. If sales weren’t up from then, we’d have a problem. If this was happening to money that was just going to me, I’d be annoyed, but I’d be understanding. When there’s a cause that’s bigger than myself — and bigger than all of us — in play…it leaves me scratching my head what else to do.

I’d love to hear ideas. If anyone has some ideas, please throw them out there in the comments.

Please Don’t Buy My Book…For Now

For those of you who are frequent readers of this blog, my Twitter, listen to my podcast with Samantha Clarke, or in any other way have heard my voice in the past six months, you know I wrote a book. It’s called An Epilogue to Innocence and it’s available on Amazon and CreateSpace.

You’re also likely aware that while I’ve managed to sell some copies of the book that sales haven’t exactly been perfect. As of today, counting all book sales and discounting editing/shipping/other costs, I’ve made approximately -$20 on my book. Yes, that’s a negative number, albeit a small one.

So. Why would I tell you not to buy my book? Sounds like a self-destructive plan for an independent author.

While I’d love to make money off of my book, I’ve come to the realization that there are people who would benefit from the money I could potentially make off this book far more than me. While I’m spending the money on Chipotle, ice cream, getting titanium rods in my mouth, Chipotle, video games, unnecessary random items for myself, and Chipotle[1], that money could go towards an organization that makes a difference in countless lives.

So…what am I going to do about it?

Last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week in the USA (October 2-8) and yesterday (October 10) was World Mental Health Day. As someone who has had numerous people in my life who have been impacted by mental illnesses, I’ve always tried to do my best to raise awareness about mental illness, mental health, and suicide prevention. Two of the stories in An Epilogue to Innocence – “Use As Directed” and “Tia” — deal with the concepts of mental illness and suicide directly.

Instead of just trying to use AETI to create awareness, I’ve decided to use the profits from the book to help a group that can make a tangible impact in this fight.

From November 1st, 2016 through December 24th, 2016, 100% of profits from the sales of An Epilogue to Innocence will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Northern Ohio branch. This includes all sales of the physical book and the ebook, regardless of if those copies are purchased through Amazon, CreateSpace, Kindle, or resellers. If I can track the profit/know about it, it will get donated.

I recognize that sales for my book haven’t been going the best. With that said, I also recognize that money made from my book would be better served going to an organization that can make a significant impact on the lives of others, both within my community and in the nation as a whole.

What does this mean?

Don’t buy my book until November 1st. Really. Do not do it. Don’t buy An Epilogue to Innocence until November 1st.

How can I help?

I need help getting the word out there to help make an impact. If there is anyone that would be willing to help — whether that be by sharing the link for people to purchase my book, purchasing a copy yourself, or something else entirely, please do so. More importantly, if you’d prefer to make a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention directly, you can do so here.

There are plenty of ways you could help, including the following.

 

On December 25th, I’ll be totaling up all monies donated during the donation period and making a donation to AFSP of Northern Ohio. I’ll share the amount here for those interested in seeing how much we’re able to raise. Even if I don’t sell a single copy of the book, I’ll still be sending some money their way, as the work they do matters.

As we get a bit closer to the charity drive’s date, I’ll be doing quite a bit of marketing on my own to try to help get the word out there. I’ll be keeping a running tracker on the site as to how much will be donated to AFSP of Northern Ohio.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this post. I hope this plea, as silly as it may be, is the first step to raising money for a group that has the ability to change the lives of so many.

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.