Sunday, January 1, 2012

KDP Select, results not typical.

Like TV diets, I am going to start this entry with a disclaimer because KDP Select is still only 3 weeks old and Amazon just dumped millions and millions of new e-readers on the consuming public for Christmas.

I planned for my second novel, Guardian, to be released right before Christmas with the idea that it would be fresh on the "whats new" lists just in time for millions of new e-reader owners to find and buy.  A week before it dropped, Amazon tipped the e-book world upside down with its KDP Select program.  While the internet was buzzing with $$ in their eyes over a half million dollar "prize pool" and "it's the end of capitalism" 90 day exclusivity clause, I found my stomach doing flip flops over the little bit at the bottom that allowed you to set your book for free for 5 days.  Half million dollars? Who cares.  90 day contracts? So what.  5 days free?  Screech, what! Santo Gold! Sign me up!

What better way to promote a new book than making the first one free?  Honestly, I didn't even have to think about it.  Three clicks later and Requiem was pulled from Barnes and Noble and enrolled in KDP Select.  Enough back story and lets get to the good parts.  I set my expectations for the giveaway pretty low.  Two hundred a day with 1,000 total.  The end goal being that over the next 90 days. 1-10% of the free downloaders go on to buy Guardian.  So somewhere between 10-100 sales of Guardian by March.

Lets take a look at some hard numbers that most people do not like to share.  Requiem had a crappy quarter.  September was good, breaking the "One a Day" sales goal, but October flopped with 4 ebooks sold and November followed suit with 4 sales and December was going for a three-peat with 4 sales before the free promo at a ranking of 267,591.  Dec 26 the promotion started and it was supposed to end Dec 30 at 11:59pm  In reality, it ended sometime around 5am on Dec 31.  It ended up with 3030 downloads.  150 of them from European domains.

3030>1000 so expectations were exceeded.  While Requiem was free, it climbed to the number two spot of the Science Fiction/Adventure category right behind The Time Machine which cheated because it was auto downloaded by new kindle owners by default on some profiles.  My purchase history had me auto downloading it along with Treasure Island and Pride and Predigious.  It was a fun moment because I was beating out Joe Konrath and Requiem stayed in the top 10 for the last four days of the promotion.  Only falling out of the number two spot on the last day.

When the free ride was over, Requiem was back on the paid ranking side where it was prior. Rank 330,000ish.  Guardian started to sell.  Not much, but 6 copies during the promo.  This is a win. because it's up 600% prior to the give away.  A good start only 4 away from my original 1% low end goal of 10 books and reaching 100 a real possibility.  Then the magic happened, Requiem continued to move units.  35 copies sold on Dec 31st and so far today (Jan 1) it's at 38 units sold.  73 PAID units in less than two days.  Just what does that do to a paid book?  Well, Requiem landed on three top 100 sellers lists on Amazon.

This was not anticipated at all.  I expected to have these types of sales spread out over the next couple of months for Guardian.  Customers like the first book and purchase the second one.  I even included the first 9 chapters of Guardian with Requiem and a link to buy Guardian if they read that far.  Why Requiem instantly shot onto best selling charts is a complete mystery to me.  Guardian is doing well with 5 units sold today.  Back to the blog topic, I have 84 sales in two days.  I am more than happy with KDP Select, but I feel these are not typical results.  Only time will tell if this is a flash in the pan and gone tomorrow, or the starting sparks of a career.  Either way, Requiem can now be called a Best Seller, if only for a short time.


  1. Hello Mr. Jones,

    Happy 2012 and congrats on the increase in sales.

    My books came out on Amazon this past December but my sales have been pretty much nonexistent since then. So I'm definitely going to give this free promotions strategy a try.

    My question is this: how did you get word out that your books were now available for free?

    Michael Abayomi
    International (Self-Proclaimed) Bestselling Author

  2. @Michael- For the most part I did nothing. I tried a blog/twitter contest, but it failed miserably. I only had two people retweet me during the promotional period and one fellow blogger posted about it. I sent out about 20 tweets that also appeared on my Facebook with a traceable URL that generated about 60 hits. So that contributed almost nothing as well.

    The simple fact is there are plenty of web crawling bots, web sites, bloggers, tweeters, and other people who do nothing but scan Amazon and other book selling web sites all day and announce deals. These people push your book up the ranks on Amazon and Amazon's algorithms take over with the also bought, also viewed, movers and shakers, top 100 lists that exponentially increase the exposure of your book.

    I know a lot of people are only doing one or two day promotions, but my download data had my book being downloaded more and more each day. I did not see any taper off on the number of downloads by the 5th day.

  3. Oh. I see. Thanks for the info. Well. I just scheduled mine to run from Wednesday till Friday this week. Hopefully this will help trigger some sales for my book, The Mediator, after the three-day run. *crosses fingers*

    Michael Abayomi
    International (Self-Proclaimed) Bestselling Author

  4. This is great news. I hope it continues for you. Keep us posted on how it's going, won't you?

  5. Hi Patrick..Happy New Year.

    Thanks for the info. You are a whiz with this type of information which more often than not goes over my head. I hope Guardian continues to sell better and better as time passes.

  6. @Michael- I hope it does well for you.

    @Sarah- I will keep an eye on it and most likely do another update in a months time, or when Guardian hits the 100 sales mark.

    @Rachna- Happy new year! I'm glad you find value in the information, and I hope Guardian takes off too.

  7. This is great! Congrats. It's great to hear first hand experience with KDP Select, I've been wondering about it. Thanks! Hope it continues well for you.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  8. Wow. This is really awesome and inspiring. I'm very happy for you, and definitely looking to learn from you! I see the value in having two books out and using them to cross-sell. I guess the best thing I can do right now is write my follow-up. Again, congrats! You're doing great!