The numbers behind a rookie Kindle debut

It’s been a week since my first indie ebook, Ten Steps to Fray, went live on Amazon (Whoo!) and the results have been very enlightening. I went with a free listing for the full five days and paid a couple of websites to list it too, so the results were a mixture of paid and free sales. Here are said results:

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That’s paid sales. Pretty depressing in a way. I spent months working on this thing, so it’s clearly a bestseller-in-waiting, right? It’s going to go into the 1000’s of sales right off the bat, right? Right…?

As you can see, I’ve shifted a grand total of six copies. Priced at 99p, cents, etc. that works out at £1.45 so far in royalties. Great. But that’s not the whole story. As mentioned above, I paid two websites to display the book on their homepages for a couple of days.

There are plenty of places that do this sort of thing (I used Digital Book Today and It’s Write Now). Most have a couple of options. Either you already have enough good reviews (20+ at 4*+, for example) to convince them you’re acceptable to the book-buying public. Else you gotta fork out. I’m not proud, so I forked out.

Cost? $10 for one, $15 for the other. Call it just under twenty of our lately devalued Sterling.

Maths fans, where are you? Never mind. I’m actually on -£18.25 net, but hey, this is an investment in the future, in the household name that will be Sammy Woodford in ten years’ time!

So, did my investment have any effect?

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Two things are now apparent to me. Firstly, as expected, the initial spike was not matched in the second, third, fourth and fifth days of the free promotion (but, importantly, they didn’t fall off completely on day two – five even outperformed four slightly!), and secondly, I missed a trick:

My book currently contains no call to action. This free blog (my “website”) features no landing page. I have no follow-up things for sale. I have no mailing list. So these 160 people who now have a copy of Ten Steps to Fray knocking around might well just disappear into the ether and never become repeat customers.

This is all fine. I’m starting out. Next time though…