Monthly Archives: August 2014

Do Amazon ‘giveaways’ increase book sales?

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As a budding indie author I have spent the best part of the last two years researching how to go about self publishing my work. Purely and simply this is because I do not have the confidence (as yet, and frankly I don’t know if I ever will), to submit to a traditional publishing house. There are a plethora of posts on the internet from interesting and informative authors, who provide a wealth of information to a horde of avid readers that desperately want to get their work published and recognised.

One of the most discussed themes for getting more sales is giving your book away. To me this seemed like the silliest concept in the world.

Give my book away! I thought. You must be bloomin’ joking! I worked my ass off on it! Not to mention the fact that it cost a fortune to get a professional cover design and editing. That’s just an insane idea!

I maintained my initial view for a few weeks. That is until the sorry reality of the Amazon marketplace struck home. The truth is that it is really difficult to sell books, particularly in a genre like science fiction or fantasy (which I tend to gravitate toward). Believe it or not, far more romances are sold (not to mention the gazillion iterations of teenage angsty vampire books that are out there) than any other fiction. Fantasy and science fiction are by no means small genres, but there is another problem. It seems that a disproportionately large number of people (myself included) think that they should have a go at writing the next ‘Lord or the Rings’ or ‘Dune’. That has lead to a marketplace that is absolutely saturated. It is also a marketplace where it is very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not to mention the fact that if the Amazon algorithms don’t pick you up, your book, no matter how good, can sink to the bottom of the huge mountain of other wannabe Tolkiens.

Anyway. It’s difficult. Nuff said. To cut a long story short, I released three pieces of work (‘Paradise’, ‘Empire Under Siege’ and ‘The Bloody King’) and none of them were selling particularly well. Suddenly an Amazon giveaway seemed like a good way to go.

So, a few weeks ago, I posted a giveaway for my novelette ‘Paradise’. It is a piece of work that I am immensely proud of and it currently has ten reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.7 stars. These are real reviews from real people with no vested interest in giving me a good review at all (i.e. they are not bought on the internet or from friends and relatives etc).

There are two routes you can use to give books away on Amazon. You can reduce the price of your book to nothing on the other sales channels and then get people to write to Amazon, who should (eventually) price match the book. I used the second option, which is to enrol in the KDP select programme which gives you five days in any ninety day period when you can give your books away.

The problem I had was that I waited so long, that when I wanted to post my giveaway, my ninety days were almost up. I promptly panicked and visited a great website called authormarketingclub.com that lists a load of websites that will post your free book up to their readers (and include your free book in their newsletters). I listed ‘Paradise’, on all of the websites I could, as free from the next day. In retrospect this was a big mistake as many of the sites have submission deadlines and so did not feature ‘Paradise’ on their sites.

Over the next four days I tweeted like crazy about my free book and (probably mostly through this) managed to get about 400 downloads (although I must have driven my followers mad…). This does not compare well to the thousands that other authors claim to get, but it was better than nothing (I thought).

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The result of my massive giveaway? Was there an enormous boost in sales? Did I recoup all of the expenses generated in publishing my works? Do I now have a huge following of fans who are desperate to read my next book?

I saw a fifty percent increase in sales. Did they all result from the giveaway? Probably not (my sales were growing slowly anyway and I released the second book in the ‘Adarna chronicles’, ‘Phoenix Rising’ recently). Essentially, it was a small increase on a small number.

Finally. In answer to the question ‘Do Amazon giveaways work?’ I would have to say that, for me, the jury is still out. For this reason I am going to run another giveaway for ‘Paradise’, but this time I have done everything right. The postings have been submitted in advance. The giveaway starts on the 25th August and finishes on the 27th. Why not pick up a copy and see what you think?

I will report back on the results of the second giveaway in a few weeks. Until then, would I recommend that you try it yourself? Hmmm…

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‘The Bloody King’ is FREE! (Everywhere except Amazon!)

The Bloody King final3last one for Marinbookworks

Hi All,

Just a quick note to let you know the my short story ‘The Bloody King’, a dark thriller set in London, is now free to download until the end of the month.

Rather amusingly, the only place it isn’t free to download is Amazon (sorry about that but I don’t want to make it perma-free as yet).

Please do help yourselves to a copy as a reward for tuning in to my ramblings for the last year or so. But please do be aware that it is very different to my other works.

I am doing this as an experiment to see whether it helps with attracting readers to my work. This is a slightly strange experiment because ‘The Bloody King’ is a thriller and my other work is fantasy or science fiction, but hey ho, it is all I have to give away at the moment 🙂

If you would like to help me with this experiment please do tweet about the free offer. I will then report back at a later date with the results!

Not sure how this will go as the market is absolutely saturated with free books at the moment, but you never know!

Here are the links to all the sites you can download from:-

‘The Bloody King’ on NOOK

‘The Bloody King’ on KOBO

‘The Bloody King’ on iTunes

All the best

Jason

‘Phoenix Rising’, book two of the ‘Adarna chronicles’ is out!

Phoenix RisingHi All,

Just a note to let you know that ‘Phoenix Rising’, book two of the ‘Adarna chronicles’ is out on Amazon now! I am delighted to say that it is complete. It should be up with other merchants over the next few days and the paperback is a week or two away 🙂

Why not head over to Amazon and check it out?

Best wishes

Jason

A bit of an update on ‘Phoenix Rising’ and other bits…

Hi all,

Today is a good day. I stated in my previous post that the editor had come back with some comments and I had a bit more work to do on ‘Phoenix Rising’. Well, I finished the revisions (and editing of the revisions et al) last night and sent them off to Mr Ed. Hopefully that means that the book is all set for release next weekend 🙂

Having thought ‘Empire Under SIege’ was hard work, I have hit new heights (and by heights I mean difficulties) with ‘Phoenix Rising’, but I hope that the results will make the effort worthwhile.

In other news, this week Candie Jean Blumel (AKA ‘the writing expert’) was kind enough to interview me on her blog. She asked a lot of insightful questions about the writing process and also about ‘The Adarna Chronicles’ and ‘Empire Under Siege’ in particular. You can check out her interview here.

I am now back to work, but not writing for a day or two. I am having great fun (rough translation ‘I am pulling my hair out!’) trying to put together a map of Adarna for ‘Phoenix Rising’…

Phoenix Rising