Saturday, 8 February 2014

Free eBook promotion now ended

My five day marketing plan has now ended. From Monday to Friday last week I gave away copies of my first eBook: 10 Plumbing Tips. I'd added in a sample of my newest eBook: Finish The Job! in the hope this would result in follow through purchases.

Was it worth it?

Only time will tell.

It's been an interesting experiment in self publishing though.

I did substantially more marketing for my second eBook than my first. I wrote to a local radio station and my local newspaper asking if their listeners and readers would be interested in a free eBook. I got no reply from either of them. I'm going to have to follow up on that. Ask what they would be interested in: as broadcasters and publishers; find out how better to frame my offer.

I wrote to most of the suppliers we bought our plumbing supplies from offering a free copy of my new book. One supplier accepted the offer and wrote back to say he'd enjoyed it. Another didn't want a free copy.

I also wrote to a couple of the charities mentioned in Finish The Job! One of these wrote back and were even kind enough to place a review on Amazon for the first book.

I sent an email to some of my colleagues at work. Posted a couple of times on a forum I frequent. I sent a few tweets out but got no retweets that I could see.

All in all, I didn't do a lot of marketing. I'm conscious that both books are very short and very much an experiment. I didn't want to waste time promoting something that may never sell well.

However, at least 10 Plumbing Tips may be widely read...

Over the course of the week 716 eBooks were given away worldwide through Amazon.

That's 716 people who may at some point in the future go on to purchase Finish The Job!

The statistics on that give away are fascinating. All my promotion was done in the UK (apart from my blog which isn't all that widely read...)

On day one I checked how many copies were being downloaded fairly frequently. It looked like 10 copies were being downloaded every hour in the US. By 7AM the next morning I could see that had been the case:

The downloads tailed off after that but by the end of the week I still had given away 659 copies in the US.

The bulk of the rest were in the UK, then Canada, Germany, India and one copy each in Italy, Spain and France.

During the week I bought and read an eBook: Going Global - How to sell your ebook in the German Market. The book contains some valuable advice on selling English language books in the German market. While the links to review sites and companies are solely relevant to Germany, the advice in the book is applicable worldwide. I'm going to use the advice when I release my next eBook later in the year.

I've only sold two copies of Finish The Job! since I released it. Both of those were to colleagues!

For an experiment it has been a success as far as learning goes but a failure in terms of making money. I realised fairly quickly that my ambition to gain a 70% royalty would put off potential buyers and dropped the price to £0.99.

Whether I sell more copies or not, I'm glad I wrote and published Finish The Job! Having started the story in 10 Plumbing Tips, I wanted to complete it. My ultimate goal is to complete and publish my novel and to make money from my writing. The more I can learn now, hopefully the easier that will be.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Oops I... accidentally published another book

Apparently Amazon doesn't allow publishing in advance. I had assumed - a word I'm really starting to hate - that because in traditional publishing it is quite common to set an advance publication date, it would also be possible using Amazon KDP.

Not so. (However, if I just haven't discovered how yet and there's a KDP expert out there, do let me know!)

After a mad week of final editing and formatting, my intention was to set a release date mid February and do some advance marketing.

Quite late on Thursday evening I completed the book description on Amazon KDP and found that I could only set a publish date for that day. I assumed (hisss) that I would have a chance later on to change that but no, pressing submit is like fire and forget. The book was going to be published no matter what I did.

My second book Finish The Job! has now been available on Amazon since early Friday morning (31st January 2014):

It actually worked to my advantage. I'd been meaning to update my first book to include a preview of the second and apply some of the learnings I'd made while working on the second book.

I've renamed and re-branded my first book to: 10 Plumbing Tips. Now book one of "The shower room saga" ;) If you can't have a laugh with this writing and publishing business then what is the point!

Having actually spent some time reading the terms and conditions on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) I now realise the reason my 99p eBook was being sold for £1.02 was because VAT is not included in the price I set. You have to add 3% (or rather deduct 3%) for books sold in Europe.

I chose not to publish Finish The Job! through KDP Select as it ties me into only selling through Amazon and I want to explore publishing through Nook and other outlets. But 10 Plumbing Tips is still tied into KDP Select which means I can offer it for free for five days - from 3rd to 7th February 2014!

I initially set the price of Finish The Job! at £1.99 which allows me to earn the higher rate of royalty (70%). However that does mean I'm paying for electronic transfer at 10p per Mb. As I've 25 full colour photos and numerous tables that I've had to save as pictures as well, that cuts down my profit by some 30p per sale.

I'd wondered about using Amazon coupons for an initial release sale but that seems to be linked to physical sales through rather than Kindle sales. I could have enrolled in Kindle Select to access a countdown deal but in the end realised I can simply change the price myself so I've taken the price down to the absolute minimum across the UK, Europe and US. It will take effect by Monday which is when I have my free promotion on 10 Plumbing Tips!

I can always raise the price later if I want. You change it in KDP and within a day it has updated. The control over your product is amazing!

Once you've read either of the books, do leave a review on Amazon.