This post follows on from the post My 90 Day Select Experiment. Why I signed up.
Now I'm a month in and I thought I'd let you know how it's going. Two of the primary reasons I joined KDP Select were; firstly, market forces were already making me almost entirely Amazon exclusive anyway (my sales from other platforms were very tiny) and secondly, I had slogged to no avail to crack the American e-book Market.
Despite various attempts, giveaways, U.S blog visits, tweetdeck scheduling, I was reaching a readership of about 10 people a month in the US.
DECEMBER SALES IMPACT: (Joined KDP Select on 20th Dec.)
The intial thing I did when I joined KDP select was to take advantage of their free promotion tool. I set a 2 day free promotion for the 20/21st of December and the U.S downloads went bonkers. Over the course of those two days I gave away over 1500 copies in the U.S alone. This was exciting, but then everybody loves a freebie and I wasn't overly confident on how it would impact on actual paid sales.
Impulsively, I stuck it on for another free day on boxing day, thinking it a good gift for anybody with a new kindle. Again I had almost a 1,000 U.S downloads in 24 hrs. During the rest of that month there were 900 paid sales of #1, 'The Forest of Adventures', in the U.S.
One of the reasons I had been so happy to give away so many copies was because #2 of the series, 'Immortal Beloved', was already published on Amazon and I was banking on the giveaway copies of #1 converting to #2 sales. This happened to a pleasing extent. Around 40% of the giveaway copies translated into #2 sales. In truth I had hoped for more, but since receiving my own kindle and going crazy for all of the freebies, I understand that sometimes the freebies (no matter how promising) tend to languish in my TBR collection. I'm still hoping that my book will be rediscovered when peeps run out of an immediate read.
As a result of the U.S sales I made it into the top #5000 ranked paid books on the Amazon.com and bagged a whole load of lovely new readers and positive reviews. It also made it to #11 of Paranormal Romance #20 of world myths #25 of fairytales.
My stable U.K market followed the same pattern and I made it into the top #600 of the paid Kindle charts, becoming a #1 bestselling fairytale and sitting comfortably in the top #20 of three other categories.
IMPACT ON JANUARY SALES:
U.S - The impact has been significant. Now my U.S market is significantly stronger than the U.K, having sold almost 500 copies. Interestingly the sales conversion rate from #1 to #2 is around 80% - so this either proves that when peeps pay for the book they read it quicker and go on to purchase the sequel, or that peeps are gradually getting around to reading #1. Although I have slipped back down in the U.S rankings to around #10,000-#20,000, it is a considerable jump from languishing around #300,000 mark.
U.K - It's difficult to read the impact this month on U.K sales. The maket for kindle books is still considerably smaller than in the U.S. I do think that maybe as a result of giving so many away there has been a slightly negative impact on the sales of #1 this month, however it isn't anything disasterous and the sales of #2 are more than financially compensating for it.
FUTURE: I still have 2 days of promotion left and I am going to hold onto these until the end of March, closer to the realease date of #3 'Starfire' - I think that this will make an excellent launch promotion and also hopefully boost the sales of all the series into the next quater.
OBSERVATION ABOUT PROMOTION SETTING:
It would seem (from very early analysis) that it is better to block the promo days together. Allowing more time for the book to travel up the freebie charts gets it far more visual coverage on the Amazon sites. It also seems to have a less negative impact on some readers' attitudes. Running the promotion for 2 days and then again for 1 day a fortnight later invited a very irate reviewer who expressed 'hatered' for authors who make some readers pay $0.99 for a book and then go on to give it away free. As a result she gave me a 1* review which was a shame when given because she felt cheated out of 0.70 pence.
KDP Select isn't going to be for everybody. I think that I have found it works for me because in my case 'The Forest of Adventures' is part of the series 'The Knight Trilogy' - I'm not sure that stand alone books would find the same benefit - although on saying that do go and check in with Jeff Bennington (you can find him on twitter @Tweetthebook). His book 'Reunion', a stand alone paranormal, crime, thriller followed almost the same pattern as mine but with even better results, reaching the #20 of paid U.K sales following promos.
Whatever you do, do your research - read around and check in at twitter. Lots of writers are sharing their experience of KDP select and it's an interesting range of experiences.