The results are in! I had a bunch of emails last time I posted on this subject, asking me to update how my adventures outside of KDP Select were going after a month – so, if you haven’t read the previous post, go check that out here. For everyone else, here’s the skinny: From my very first book release in March 2013, there had always been a common trend. Book sales would spike massively around a promotion (usually Bookbub) and then fall right back down again within a few days. Not that I’m complaining, but my eventual goal was to try and keep sales consistently strong, rather than relying on a monthly spike in numbers and then thirty days of diddly-squat. Here’s what a typical month looked like:
Pretty ugly, right? So, I pulled my titles from KDP Select and uploaded them onto other vendors, then set my strongest-rated novel to permafree. I applied for a Bookbub free promotion, which went live on the 27th of June. The results have been better than I could have hoped. Sales have remained consistently higher for over a month, beating out my average daily revenue of $80 by a factor of four. This last month has easily been my strongest to date, and is set to overtake the $7,000 mark by the time July rolls round. And, best of all, sales on non-Amazon retailers make up a significant portion of that figure, and Amazon UK has opened up for the first time. Here’s how the numbers break down:
[click the image above for a larger view] You can easily see the boost in sales on the 27th, coinciding with the permafree title hitting the top 5 in the Kindle store. What’s different this time, is that sales didn’t tank afterwards. In fact, they ‘ve stayed high for the month following, albeit with the usual up-and-down that one would expect in this line of business (the fluctuations are consistent across Amazon US, Amazon UK, Nook, Kobo, and iTunes).
Some specifics: The month peaked on the 15th June with $300 of sales, and the lowest earner was the 3rd of June, with $219. But the average has remained fairly strong at $249 a day for the last 32 days. Obviously a huge improvement over the previous month (as you can see from the graph). These figures are for 7 titles – 4 novels (one of which is permafree), 1 novella, and 2 bundles. The novels are $3.99, the novella $2.99 and the bundles $5.99.
I’ve also been extremely impressed with my first experiences with other retailers. iTunes has been easy to work with (despite it taking nearly a week to get a title approved), Nook was simple and fast (12 hours from submission to publication) and Kobo was a dream. Kobo were also kind enough to feature my permafree book as one of their “first free in series” titles, which gave my numbers there a little push. Kobo is now a nice little side earner – and the efforts these guys go to in order to accommodate indies is commendable – especially given the vacuum that opens up every time I try to email Apple or Barnes and Noble. Well done, Kobo!
So, there you have it. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary, but I’ve had some great success with non-Amazon vendors and using permafree as a way to draw readers in. I’ve also seen a major uptick in newsletter subscribers, going from 1,500 signups to nearly 3,700 signups in less than two months. If you’d like to find out more about my email tactics, I’m putting together a full post on the subject – make sure you sign up at the bottom of this post if you want a notification once the article goes live.
Otherwise, it’s back to the keyboard for me – I’m getting close to finishing the next novel, and I’m already getting the finishing-line jitters…
Have any of you had any experiences outside of KDP Select? Any strategies you’d like to try out, but haven’t had the chance yet? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and pass your ideas off as my own…
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