On December 9, 2013, I started a countdown deals promotion for my novel, Storm Without End. I used a five increment promotion with the following prices: $0.99, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99, and $4.99.
At the 100 hour mark, 3 price increments have completed, with the caveat of unclaimed gifts, which are added to the appropriate increment when they are claimed.
At the time of this posting, my novel is ranked as the following:
At its best, I was ranking #3,393 in Kindle Store, with #10 in both Dark Fantasy categories, #58 in Sword and Sorcery, and #74 in Epic Fantasy (kindle), and #89 in Epic Fantasy (Books).
This was a huge accomplishment for an unknown author, and the amount of support I've received from the Google+, facebook, and twitter communities has been staggering. Thank you.
So, let's talk some numbers. I've shown you the rankings, so, what does all of this mean?
In order to reach 3,393 ranking, I had to sell over 50 books in a day at the $0.99 and over 25 books at the $1.99 price point as a follow up, approximately. When the price shifted to $1.99, I was still seeing a trickle of sales from the $0.99 price point as gifts were claimed. These gifts combined with live sales resulted in my 3,393 ranking.
In order to maintain that ranking point, I had to keep selling books.
At 100 hours, to hold the 6,220 ranking, I had to sell 132 books plus 3 lending library borrows, plus 3 ‘out of US' sales. These ‘out of US' sales are people who have amazon.com accounts with their kindles but live outside of the USA. I can tell that these were the types of purchases because I would see the number increase on my main stats page but they would not show in the promotions stat page.
This works out to just over 1 book an hour being sold.
So, let's take a look at this a little deeper. What does this mean in terms of revenue?
Note: I am excluding the ‘Out of US Sales', all sales prior to the promotion, and the lending library sales from these figures.
At the $0.99 price point: 61 sales, $60.22 in revenue, $38.69 in royalties.
At the $1.99 price point: 52 sales, $103.48 in revenue, $69.04 in royalties.
At the $2.99 price point: 19 sales, $56.81 in revenue, $38.76 in royalties.
To be fair, I actually have 4 hours worth of $3.99 figures, which accounts for 0 sales, so no revenue or royalties. Each of the price points lasts 33 hours.
Now, what does this mean in the overall game plan for me as a new author? Well, I'm going to be very honest with you, and just show you all of the numbers. Yes, all of them.
I will use grand totals by source for simplicity's sake. All of these numbers are prior to December, as I have confirmed income rankings. I will list my sales totals for the entirety of December, although I will not be listing my total income, as I do not have confirmed numbers for these.
December Figures, Including Promotion:
So, what does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. That's right. In the short and long term, there is no way of knowing how this promotion will impact my sales in the future — until the future gets here. I'll let you know as I figure it out, and if I see an increase of sales due to the visibility I've gotten as a result of the promotion. That said, after seeing the results of the promotion, I will be using countdown promotions in conjunction with the release of my other novels. This way, people new to each of the series can grab up a copy of the first book for super cheap if the second book appeals to them. After the promotion, I will be permanently marking down the first book a little in price so new fans can enjoy the entire series without going bankrupt.
One thing I would like to make clear is this: I did not make any actual profits for either indiegogo campaign. What the indiegogo campaigns let me do was produce the books and have the funds to pay my people — the perks otherwise sucked every last cent out of the campaigns. I'm fine with that, because my goal wasn't to make a profit, but to get the books produced so they could start off making profits when they launched.
Future books I'm using my editorial work and my royalties to pay for my fees for my editors and my cover artist. Needless to say, I have absolutely no regrets over going exclusive with Amazon in order to do this promotion. It has given one of my books a huge boost (including 3 reviews!) and I think it will serve as an excellent starting point for my career. Right now, I couldn't drop my client work or anything like that… No worries there, clients! Maybe in 2015 I'll become rich and famous… oh hell, who am I kidding? I'd be happy if I made enough to help pay household expenses at this point.
I wouldn't call this a runaway success, unless the internet decided to all start posting 5* reviews and my sales magically skyrocketed at the higher price point, but there you have it.
And there, I just put my money where my mouth is. I know many people have asked for actual numbers, so there you have it. Actual numbers.
They aren't large numbers, but they're mine. In the case of The Eye of God, these are numbers since late July. In the case of Storm Without End, they are since early November.
And, here is the reality of an author's position: If you find these posts useful, and the resources I post of use, consider buying one of my books. All of the work I put into my website and writing resources are done during my spare time, taking away hours from my novels and my clients.
You can view my author page on amazon here.