Tag Archives: Gawain

E-book promotions: Countdown – meh. Permafree – yay! (kinda)

Way back in the beginning of November, I wrote about the new Kindle Countdown Deals that Amazon had come up with to try to make KDP Select more attractive to writers again. I signed up for a promotion with my collection of short stories, Dragon Time, and promised to write about the results after it was over.

Well, Nanowrimo happened, and then Christmas happened, and now we have 2014, and I still haven’t posted about my results.

There’s one good thing as a result of that, however, and that is that I have some data now to compare, since my Arthurian short story, Gawain and Ragnell, went free at almost the same time that Dragon Time was available as a Countdown Deal.

My experience of the Countdown Deal is that it’s worth next to nothing unless you have some big promotion going on to push it. This, of course, is true for a limited-time free promotion as well, and the Countdown Deal has the advantage that you are sill making money on your book, AND at better royalty rates. So if you want to shell out the big bucks for an ad with BookBub or one of the few other places that are still effective for moving books, you could earn back the expense for the ad much quicker with a Countdown Deal. If you sell next to no books on the other platforms, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, etc., and you’re willing to push the promo with paid advertising, the Countdown Deal might be an argument to return to Select. But I suspect only under those circumstances. Free promos aren’t worth much any more either these days.

For Dragon Time, I only announced the promo here and on my Facebook page, and tweeted it a couple of times. I sold one copy of the story collection.

At the time the Countdown Deal started and Gawain and Ragnell went permafree, the sales of my ebooks had come to a complete standstill. I hadn’t done any promotion for my books since May 2013, and every month thereafter my sales dropped more. The first week in November, I’d sold two books total across all my titles. And it ended up being my single worst month ever for ebook sales. (It didn’t help that some apparent “fan” went through my books, buying them and then returning them three days later. When you’re selling so few books, that kind of behavior becomes pretty obvious.)

But once Gawain and Ragnell was finally price-matched to free, an interesting thing started happening. The first few days, it didn’t have that many downloads. I did exactly the same promotion for it that I did for the Countdown Deal for Dragon Time, announced it here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. At first it looked to me like permafree was going to be the same washout as the Countdown Deal. But then somehow it started gaining traction, and by the end of the month, 342 people had downloaded the story. In December, it was a lot less, but still another 171. And that’s enough to keep Gawain and Ragnell in a couple of top 100 lists. Here’s where it is right now:

Download it! It's free!

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,686 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#11 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Arthurian
#28 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Myths & Legends
#48 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

This is what’s so good about permafree — it gets one of your books where people can see it. And the downloads are cumulative, so I don’t lose that ranking. Yes, this is a lot lower than the story was the end of November, but it is still in those crucial top 100 lists.

November ended up being my worst month for sales ever. But in December that trend actually turned around. And not only did I sell more books, I sold more of the 2.99+ books like Yseult (which is where the money is, with the 70% royalties) than the cheaper ones. This month so far, I’ve been selling about a book a day, all at 2.99+. That’s still not very much, I know, especially not after those amazing stretches I’ve had when I sold nearly ten books a day.

But right now I’m just glad the downward spiral has been reversed. 🙂 And I’m determined to get a few more permafree books out there, once I’ve caught up a bit on the big translation job.

So anyway: download Gawain and Ragnell! It’s free, and you’d be doing me a big favor! *g*

Related posts:

“Amazon trying to re-Kindle interest in KDP Select: The new ‘Countdown Deals'”

“Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select”

“Dragon Time” live as Countdown Deal, and “Gawain and Ragnell” finally free!

I posted yesterday about the new KDP Select “Countdown Deals” and my decision to give it a whirl with my YA short story collection, Dragon Time. It took a while, but the sale is now live:

Also, I am very happy to announce that today Amazon finally price-matched Gawain and Ragnell, and it is now permafree. Download! Tell your friends! Send links to everyone who enjoys Arthurian fiction! *g*

I want to thank everyone who tattled on me and helped to make this novelette free. Cross your fingers for me that it helps with sales of the other Pendragon Chronicles books. 🙂

Quarterly update and a cover reveal for Gawain and Ragnell

It’s that time of year again, taking stock on how well I’ve achieved my goals in the last couple of months for “A Round of Words in 80 Days.” For those who are unfamiliar with ROW80, you can check it out here.

First off, to get it out of the way, here are the goals I didn’t achieve:

– I did NOT manage to get 50,000 words written on A Wasted Land

– I did NOT do much more experimenting with posting to Wattpad and similar sites

– I only managed to do a few experimental fast writing sessions, not enough to significantly increase my average word count

So what did I achieve?

A Wasted Land is now at 19,000 words, which is almost 18,000 more than the beginning of the round.

– I had a wonderful vacation to Iceland and to visit family, during which I got next to no writing done. 🙂

– I got Chameleon in a Mirror off to some more beta readers, and I’m still hopeful I will be able to publish before Christmas.

– I’ve started brainstorming the sequels to Island of Glass, Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass. I’ve also been in touch with the cover artist for the first book and will hopefully soon be able to book slots for the second two.

– I started a new, long-term translation job (one of the reasons the writing progress has been slower than I hoped).

– I did Konrath’s 8 Hour Ebook Challenge, writing and publishing The Destruction of Ys in 8 hours. I got such great feedback on my little short short, that I unpublished this week. And no, that’s not a contradiction. It appears Ys might be worth a bit more work than 8 hours, so I intend to expand it and republish once I’m happy with it. 🙂

– I’m almost done with the stand-alone version of Gawain and Ragnell (taken from an episode in Shadow of Stone). I’ve also been working with my daughter on a cover for it:

Cover for Gawain and Ragnell

So what do you guys think?

Anyway, even if I’m behind on my goals, I’m still happy with what I did manage to get done. Hope everyone else had a successful quarter as well!

Clarion West Write-a-thon, goals for the next quarter, and a sale on Yseult

I’ve taken a rather extended break from blogging, for a number of reasons, the only one that is relevant being that I had enough distractions and I wanted to get some writing done. And I have made progress on a couple of projects, despite very full days. I mentioned a while back that I wanted to make a stand-alone version of an episode from Shadow of Stone, and I finished a first version of “Gawain and Ragnell” with it’s own chapter breaks and appropriate quotes from Arthurian literature. While writing the episode originally, I took my inspiration both from the tradition of the “loathly lady” as well as “Gawain and the Green Knight” and a few other medieval tales of Gawain, conflating them all to what I hope I made into a coherent whole. None of the readers of Shadow of Stone have complained yet, so I think I must have been at least partly successful. 🙂

I’ve also returned to A Wasted Land, trying to make sense of the notes and scenes I wrote in March. I printed everything out, cut pages off at scene breaks, kept the pieces of scenes together with paper clips, and started reorganizing everything, moving scenes around and writing scene descriptions on separate pieces of paper in long hand (purpose, who, when, where, what happens, decision), and adding those guidelines to the cut up pieces of paper from the original scene. Doing all this, I realized I had some major flaws in chronology, which I hope my current pile of paper will correct. I’ve now started writing the new version, but I don’t have much in terms of words: only 1200 so far. And I have signed up for the Clarion West Write-a-thon again this year, with my goal being 30,000 words on A Wasted Land by the end of July. AND we will be going on vacation in a couple of weeks, so I should try to get most of those words done before that …

For the curious, here’s the cover:

I want to try to some new fast writing techniques this round anyway, testing what works for me, so it’s all a part of the plan. *g* I’ve read a lot of blog posts and Kindle Board discussions on increasing your output, and I’m at least ready to give it a shot.

No matter what I manage for the write-a-thon, my main goal for the quarter will be to finish a complete draft of A Wasted Land. I’m trying to learn from my previous publishing mistakes, and this book is planned more modestly, with fewer sub-plots, etc. I’m shooting for a first draft of no more than 50,000 words.

This quarter, I also want to do another pass of Gawain and Ragnell, make a cover, publish it, and try to make it free on Amazon.

I’ve started posting Island of Glass to Wattpad, and I want to continue testing such platforms. (Island of Glass is another priority, but I’m a firm believer in letting a work sit before rewriting.) This round, I really want to try and make the writing a priority, as long as life allows.

I have a bunch of “maybe” publishing and writing goals, but those really depend on how far I can get on A Wasted Land. Given how atrocious sales of short story collections are these days, I’ve given up on collections of my previously published stories for the time being.

I wish everyone a very successful round!

(For those who don’t have it yet, Yseult is presently on sale for only 99c.)