I wanted to write something about this, as, when I was emailed by Amazon asking if I wanted to take part, I couldn’t find anything about it on the internet and was a little unsure how it would turn out. I made a note to let people know how it went so other authors will have an idea what to expect in future.
Basically, Amazon said they would put Wolf’s Head in their October “100 Kindle books or £2.99 or less” promotion, but they can reduce the price to whatever they want, and your royalties per sale drop accordingly. My regular price for the book is £2.27, so I was thinking, “What if they reduce it to 49p for the month and it doesn’t sell any extra?”
I imagine for someone that actually makes their living from selling ebooks, this could be a bit of a dilemma. I mean, it’s AMAZON right? Surely if they’re offering to put your book in a promotion it has to be worthwhile? You can’t buy this sort of publicity! At the same time though, the fear is there: what if if doesn’t sell any extra, and the discounted price means a big drop in earnings for the month?
It wasn’t that much of an issue for me, because I work a full-time day-job, so I was able to say, “Well, okay, even if it bombs, I have to take the chance. It’s not like the sales are paying my mortgage anyway.”
October came and the discounted price was 99p, which wasn’t too bad. At this stage, the book had been out for a few months and, although still doing well, it was starting to edge its way down the charts as new books were being released and so on, so I was really hopeful the 99p price would drive it back up to within the overall Kindle best sellers top 500.
I checked the charts every hour, watching to see if anything happened. The grin on my face got bigger and bigger as it went back up to number 1 in Amazon’s two “War” chart subcategories, and, overall, it eventually reached number 137 in the OVERALL bestsellers list for all Kindle books in the UK. It seemed my niggling doubts about the promotion were unfounded!
Throughout the month, Wolf’s Head remained in the “War” chart top 5, hitting the top spot again in the middle of the month and again on the final day. It stayed in the “Historical Fiction” top 20 rubbing elbows with books by the likes of Philippa Gregory, Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden.
For a debut novel, this was just unbelievable.
I spent the entire month checking the chart placings, smiling every time it jumped back up a place or two. I’ve also been lucky enough to receive a lot of new reviews, almost all of them 5 stars (the average rating is 4,6/5 from 68 reviews), which must have helped keep things motoring along.
Overall, I sold more than double the amount of copies I’d been selling up to that point each month, which meant more overall royalties despite the reduced price, but more importantly, a LOT of new readers who will hopefully look out for my next books.
It’s November now, and the book is back to the regular (but still bargain!) price of £2.27. Hopefully it will continue to fend off competition in the charts for a while yet.
So, if Amazon send you an email asking if you would like to take part in this promotion – you know what to do! I’m very grateful to them for allowing me to be a part of this, maybe I’ll get the chance to do it again once The Wolf and The Raven is finished…
Fantastic, steven, lets hope the ‘tail’ of the effect is long…
Thanks Margaret, fingers crossed!
A very helpful post Steven. It never ceases to surprise me how books come and go up “the charts” on Amazon.