Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kindle Countdown Experience

The Dragon's Tear

Today is the day after my Amazon Kindle Countdown has expired. Thankfully, we are in a digital age and information comes fast. I am able to comment on my Countdown sale right away, with  no time delay. What an age we live in. Here is the immediate feedback I have received from this special.

Kindle allows users to check monthly reports on sales, which can be viewed through the current month, past six weeks, and past year time frames. By clicking the current month, it will update as people buy an ebook. I decided to use the Countdown sale, because I wanted to get the most out of my three month contract with Amazon. Certain features are available only to Kindle Direct Select members, such as five day free promotion, Matchbook, and Kindle Countdown.

Countdown has a few requirements, and I'll go over them one last time to give a clear picture. The exclusive contract in 90 days. A Countdown can not be initiated until the price of the ebook has been standard for 30 days. That is one third of the contract right there. Start the seven day sale, and an additional 30 days must pass before it can happen again. Here is the tricky part, one must immediately do the sale again, or else they will be locked out from it. If the contract has 14 days or less before expiring, a Countdown can not happen. The window of opportunity to makeup a lost day, is two days before lockout. It's constricting, but it does boost sales for writers.

We have to sell a copy one at a time, outside of select lucky authors, who can put up a book without promotion and have it sell a hundred thousand copies in a month, those are the rules. I like to think of YouTube as an example. It's costs nothing to upload and watch videos, and anyone who's ever put up a video knows getting views is difficult. When a hundred people watch a new YouTuber's creation, it's considered a momentous occasion, because no one knows who they are. And that is at free! We appreciate people taking a chance on something new.

My copies of The Dragon's Tear increased dramatically. In the seven days of the sale, I sold ten units. That is more than a book a day, and more than I was selling beforehand. I knew this when I started writing, it's never the one book, it's the many books that create sales. It's why I don't peek at my monthly reports, because it's useless to do so. Is it selling poorly? I better write another book. Is it selling well? I better write another book. That's the mentality I keep, but for this Countdown sale, I made sure to check every day.

What have I learned from this experience? A Countdown sale can help increase sales by five and ten times more than what I normally sells. If a book sells five copies every week, the expectations should be between 25-50 copies sold with the additional help. Countdown feels as if self-published authors were the first in mind to use this feature, unlike Matchbook, which was more for traditional publishing's benefit, and even then only HarperCollins took part in it.

The reasons to go into Amazon's three month contract fell into a few categories: Amazon is the main source of ebook sales, five day free promotions used to count as regular sales, now they count as marshmallows, and the plethora of success stories that have come from it. It is a major choice for authors to use other retailers for exposure and increased sales. The fact is ebooks are a digital resource, meaning they don't take up space, so putting them up in different avenues costs the author nothing, while a larger group of people are able to purchase it.

The inclusion of the Countdown is a strong draw to giving the exclusivity of Amazon a chance. I recommend anyone who is self-publishing to choose the Kindle Direct Select as their novel's home for three months. In February, I'll be letting my contract run out. I rather my book be out in the world, more than I care about making money at this point. It's never the one book, it's the many books.