How to sell 11,000 books in less than 4 weeks

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The title might be a little click-baity and just a tad misleading. I can’t tell you how to sell 11,000 books in four weeks, but seeing as that is what I’ve just done, I figured I’d have something to say about it.

My annual sales report for Oct 2015 to Sep 2016 mentions that in those 12 months, I sold 16.6k books. Then in the month of October I sold almost as much in just a single month. The 11k mentioned in the title was just one book. I sold other titles as well. In fact, the very point of selling the 11k books was to sell more different books.

So, what happened?

Well, I finished the Moonfire Trilogy and wanted to do an ad campaign to get more people into the series. I’d made book 1 99c for a while immediately after launch back in June and sold about 700 copies. But then I put the price back up so that I could concentrate on finishing the rest of the series (because refreshing sales dashboards is very distracting).

When that was done, I didn’t want to do another 99c promotion on the same book, but I did have something else. The Moonfire Trilogy is a sequel to the Icefire Trilogy. That series is now about four years old, and while it’s still selling, I felt I could play with it a bit. It also feeds into the Moonfire Trilogy. I spent a bit of time correcting some oopses I’d found, paid for another proofread, because there are always mistakes, always. I tizzed up the covers, and I put one very important line at the very end of the 900-page book: “The Moonfire Trilogy is set in the same world twenty years later. Click here to get the first book”.

Then I did something outrageous: I lowered the price for the entire trilogy to 99c. Then I applied for Bookbub. They said yes.

The ad ran on 8 October.

This happened:

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And this:

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And this:

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I sold 3046 books on that day on Amazon, with another 1500 on other platforms. The Bookbub site gives an estimated number of sales of 2400 copies. I needed to sell 1500 to break even on the cost of the ad.

I was happy. I know from running my own promotions that sets of books always do better than single books, because obviously they’re a better deal.

So I was very happy.

I expected the book to quickly sink into my usual comfort zone: oblivion. This particular book sells a good bit on Kobo, but rarely sells at all on Amazon (people there tend to prefer the individual volumes). I had planned to leave it 99c until this upcoming weekend’s Science Fiction and Fantasy promotion and I hoped to ride a bit on the tail of the promotion. I thought I might sell another few hundred. I sold EIGHT THOUSAND.

The book didn’t sink back down. It stuck to a ranking of around 3000 in the Amazon US store and it’s pretty much still there when I’m writing this. And yesterday, this happened in Amazon UK:

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I have NO idea why any of this happened, except to say a huge THANK YOU to all who bought it. It’s been a tad nuts, to be honest.

The ingredients to this success? Bookbub, no doubt, but to do so much better than their estimate? A good deal, lucky timing, and decent-sized community already familiar with your name. I’ve been featured by Bookbub seven times, so readers of Fantasy and SF will have seen my name a few times, and many more readers will have heard about my books from the SF/F promotions. That’s all I can think of.

The book will be featured in the SF/F promotion this week, and I’ve decided to keep it 99c until 21 November. Next week and the week after, a number of SFF promotion buddies will post to their mailing lists about it. It’s truly amazing to have such a great community.

Over 100 books free, all retailers

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This totally insane promo is on again this weekend. Over 100 authors are giving their books for free.

Why free?

Because it’s a really good and really sneaky way of getting people to buy the other books in the series.

We’ve been featuring all retailers for a few months now, and that’s been great. The reader membership of the promo’s list is growing so much that I’ve had to shop for a cheaper mailing list provider.

Come along and see what all the fuss is about.

Click here or on the image to go to the promo

The Ebookaroo lives!

Ebookaroo

Ever since I nicknamed my mailing list “The Beast” I got a lot more people joining. That mailing list is my personal author list, and has information about my books and my writing.

I take part in a lot of giveaways and cross promotions, and those attract another group of readers: people who like promotions.

These are really two groups of people, although there will be some overlap. People who are waiting for the next Ambassador book (it’s coming, I promise!) don’t want to receive all the emails about cross promotions. People who want bargain books don’t want to hear about my 5th book in a series they’ve never heard of.

So, here is the Ebookaroo, a list especially for those who like to hear about author-run promotions and giveaways which may or may not include any of my books. It will definitely include books of a lot of the awesome peeps I’ve met around here.

Click here or on the image to read more.

The astonishing success of the SF/F promotion

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Remember I posted this a few days ago? Well, the promotion is now live and we’ve had over 62,000 clicks to book links so far, with almost a day still to go. I’m flabbergasted, and very pleased and astonished.

Why is this model so successful?

Cross-promotions are nothing new, but ironically, I think I stumbled on a fluke by being too lazy to bother with adding a competition with a rafflecopter thingie to it. I mean– the promotion is simple: get books for free or 99c (this alternates each month). It’s a promotion about READERS, not about people who want to win competitions, or who want to win some device.

The premise is crystal clear: get cheap or free books. It’s not about leaving email addresses for authors to use, or about other author-driven goals. It’s about people getting a selection of a lot of books.

It’s also not about everyone doing the same thing. The authors pay nothing, except I ask them to post about the promo in a place where they normally hang out, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, their blog, Google+ or Instagram or wherever. I am normally on Twitter and a little bit on Facebook. I have a Google+ account but never use it. I *think* I have a Reddit account, but I have no idea what the password is. So for me to start posting on Google+ or Reddit would be spammy. It’s not spammy for someone who frequents the place and has friends there.

That is why it works.

There will be some changes coming. Every month, we add a couple of hundred email addresses to the list of people who get the promo mailed to them. We’re about to smash Mailchimp’s free limit of 2000 addresses, and I’m going to have to pony up for the list. I have some ideas for further cross-promo projects that will be cool for readers, help promo authors and help me fund the site.

I’m getting a lot from this, but bucketloads of money is not one of those things 😛

First in Series Free: The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Many are called… She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

COBWEB BRIDE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One) by two-time Nebula Award Nominee Vera Nazarian is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazonsmashwordsnook

First in Series Free: The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

First in Series Free: Shadowborn by Moira Katson

The Duke of Voltur has schemed for years to become the power behind the throne of Heddred, using his niece Miriel as a pawn to secure the King’s heart. To this end, he has chosen Catwin, an orphan girl, to become Miriel’s Shadow: spy, assassin, and bodyguard. Thrown together by the ambitions of a ruthless man, Catwin and Miriel must learn quickly to survive in a Court that wants them both dead…

Author website

Book 2 in the series


Get it for free here

koboAmazonsmashwordsnook

First in Series Free: Shadowborn by Moira Katson was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants