OK let’s talk numbers. When I was asked to write a piece for Writing.ie I thought it would be good to disclose exactly how my first self published novel The Agathon is doing since its launch on December 15th 2015. Four months in and I totted up all downloads and pages read and paperback copies sold so far. So here they are.
From December 15th 2015 – April 16th 2016-04-16 Results…
Total number of Kindle downloads – 822
Total KENP pages read, (this is Amazon’s new system of paying an author per page read when it’s borrowed) – 18,541 * There are 346 pages in book one which converts to 53.5 books
Total Paperback copies bought – 19
So let’s discuss these results. On the one hand I won’t be retiring any time soon, but on the other hand it converts to 894 copies in four months, which I was pretty happy about. Now, what’s worth noting is this: 707 copies of the book were also downloaded on Kindle in 5 days during a free promotion I did through the KDP Select program, which was fantastic for exposure but obviously did not yield any royalties.
I read everything I could about pricing structures when I launched book one. Some web sites suggested pricing strongly giving weight to the content. Some said, as a new author, you have to entice readers so price low. I initially decided on €2.99 and ran with that for about two months.
I ran several price promotions on the KDP Select program, which allowed you to reduce the price over a number of days to entice downloads. What I learned, was that readers were more likely to give an unknown author a change if the price was at the €0.99 mark so following on from the free promotion I left the price at that level where downloads at the moment seem to be roughly two or three a day.
When I run a Facebook add or do a social media blitz that number increases. This year has been very much about just getting readers and subscribers to my web site and blog. One of the biggest mistakes I made was not having a subscriber list. While I am still at the beginning of trying to gain a readership, a subscriber list is absolutely key when you launch a new title.
One of the greatest challenges is shifting focus from trying to write novels and trying to sell them. Promoting my own work is something that I have conflicted feelings about. On the one hand if you do not put yourself out there then you will never have feedback or encouragement about your stories, on the other hand you need to develop a thick skin. The reviews and feedback I have received so far have been overwhelmingly positive which I am thrilled about and it gives me a great motivation to keep at it. While I am not currently selling millions of copies of my book, selling any copies at all was a fantastic experience and I have to say, great fun.
During my promotion campaign for book one I actually landed in the top 12 authors in science fiction, which for a moment gave me little goose bumps.
So where do we go from here?
I wrote The Agathon, Reign of Arturo directly after I finished book 1, so I decided to launch it fairly soon in publishing terms after book 1. The last three years have been a massive learning curve in terms of the publishing business and my own writing has developed and changed with all the successes and failures of books. I really went for it with my novels and tried to make them the best that they could possibly be and to be as entertaining as I could make them. Book two was launched on the 16th of April. I am currently working on a stand-alone thriller, which the guys at Inkwell are going to be editing and working on in late June of this year. Book 3 of The Agathon is set for release late 2016.
(c) Colin Weldon
About The Agathon, Reign of Arturo
For 1000 years the surviving humans drifted. Bound together on board the remaining space stations. A civil war has erased their past. The Agathon, believed to have been lost during their mission, has now become a myth, a bedtime story to be read to children. Now ruled by the tyrannical Chancellor Arturo Verge, a rebellion begins to stir on board Earth One, led by Aron Elstone and the crew of his ship, The Unity. Across the Galaxy, The Agathon emerges from hyperspace. Lost and damaged, the crew must land the ship on a strange ice covered world. When Carrie agrees to leave the ship with Tyrell in order to find the mysterious “Others”, her father must come to terms with the loss of his family as they finally make contact with those left behind. What Carrie discovers on her journey with Tyrell finally opens her eyes to her strange powers. The fate of all life in the galaxy now rests squarely on her shoulders. A burden she must carry alone.