Author Services Review: The Aftermath of the Promotion

Inquisitor - RJ Blain - Small CoverSuccess is a fleeting, unpredictable thing. When I planned the launch of Inquisitor, I had a few set goals for myself. I wanted to make the top 10,000 on Amazon, and I wanted to make back $250.00 in earnings within the first week.

I failed to reach both goals.

However, my expectations were flawed.

I learned a lot. I took a lot of risks. They all paid off, but in a way I never anticipated and did not know possible.

In terms of money earned, the $539 I invested in the tour was a complete and utter failure. I sold 14 copies of Inquisitor the first day, with 4 additional individuals borrowing the book on amazon. Sales went downhill from there.

I set $250 as my ‘ROI (Return of Investment) goal' because I figured half was a good value for the insane boosts I got to my social media networking. My facebook got over 300 new likes. My twitter exploded, with approximately 500 new followers. I gained well over 200 new followers on pinterest as well. In addition to this, there were a good number of adds of my book to goodreads. All of these things have value–a lot of value for a writer.

But I was hoping for $250 in the first week of sales.

I made $73.00 in the first week of sales.

If you're wondering why it took me so long to post this, I was wallowing in the darkest pit of despair I could find. I was expecting failure of some sort, but this was a rather spectacular failure.

I wallowed in self-pity, mostly quietly.

I did not expect what amazon would do twelve days after my book launch. I didn't even know amazon did this… not until I asked a very successful self-published author. (She'll make upwards of $70,000+ this year from amazon alone.)

If you browse books, and you add a title to your wishlist, amazon tracks that. It also tracks your behavior in conjunction with other readers. Let's face it, a lot of people I know read fantasy. I promoted to many sites dedicated to paranormal and urban fantasy.

People didn't buy the book.

People added Inquisitor to their wishlist.

On Memorial Day, my book sales exploded. I went to bed after seven straight days of 1 or 2 sales and a 65,000 or worse ranking. I woke up with 20 sales.

The day went on, and the sales kept coming.

I googled, I googled, I spent all day googling. I could not, for the life of me, figure out what sort of gremlin had decided I needed a chance at success.

It wasn't a gremlin. It was my book and my promotion efforts bearing fruit in an unexpected way. Amazon saw I had a lot of wishlist additions. Amazon decided to send a Memorial Day promotional email to a selection of book lovers. It featured my novel.

It featured my novel in the top slot of the newsletter.

Copies sold. 75 copies, for that matter, with 4 borrowed units. On Memorial Day, Inquisitor made $250.00 in royalties. It jumped to the top 3,000 on Amazon.

Since, it has been hovering between 4,000-5,000 in the rankings. Sales are still coming, although at a slower pace.

By May 28, it had paid for all of its promotional costs. I've almost earned back the cost of one of my editors for the novel, too.

All because people were interested in the novel and added it to their wishlists. This is a new way you can help authors you believe in and like. You want to read a book but can't afford it?

Add it to your wishlist. This gives the author a chance to get on one of these amazon email promotions.

Amazon was still emailing people yesterday with my novel. I received a forward of one of the emails from a fan, who was ecstatic to see it.

Amazon Email

The price on it made me do a double take, but really? Amazon sold me a bunch of books. So, thanks Amazon!

Because Amazon featured my novel, it started selling. It's still selling.

I have 17 reviews, with a 4.7* average rating. That's pretty good. The paid promotion landed me at least 9 reviews that made it to Amazon. There were a lot more reviews that didn't make it to Amazon, but that's okay too.

People were made aware of my novel. They added it to their wishlists.

Amazon saw that as a reason to promote my novel for sale.

I'm not a bestseller. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination. This isn't going to make my writing career. It did give me a much needed boost.

But it took twelve hopeless days before the impact of the promotion kicked in. But when it did, did it ever!

Bestsellers are likely laughing at my 83 sales and $250 of income for a single day. Me?

I cried.

Paid promotion: It worked…

… but for none of the reasons I expected.

Another day, I will go into the specifics of each of the campaigns I participated in, including my speculations on why these campaigns actually worked… and why I suspect some did not.


I'm going to get other work done and marvel that the publishing industry is even more complex than I imagined possible.


Who would have thought?!

Leave a Comment: