Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Latest free run for Yseult and some thoughts on KDP Select

My sales this month have been pretty pathetic, and that after awesome months in August, September and October. Partly it might be due to the fact that I was gone for over two weeks, plus frazzled before and jetlagged after. My online presence diminished to near-invisibility, and I can’t help but think that played a role in my diminishing sales.

Another thing that’s hurting me (and others) is that free runs are becoming increasingly ineffective for boosting sales. There have been a number of discussion threads about this on the Kindle Boards, but what it comes down to is that with the glut of free ebooks from all the authors in KDP Select, readers aren’t grabbing everything that looks remotely interesting anymore. Add to that a change in algorithms on the part of Amazon, in which books given away free count a lot less towards popularity and bestseller status than they had previously.

Fewer books given away + unfavorable algorithms = limited sales after free run

Take my most recent freebie, for example, my fantasy collection Dragon Time. Short story collections are notoriously hard to sell, but when it was free in February for two days, I gave away over 3,000 books. In the weeks following, I then sold over 100 copies. The last free run it had in October, I only managed to give away about 350 copies. Since then, it’s sold one copy and been borrowed once. With results like that, KDP Select is useless as a marketing tool. As a result, I have decided (once again) to slowly start pulling my books from KDP Select and try getting them up in other stores. The last time I did that, with Yseult in May, it was a disaster. Smashwords took forever to publish it, and when it did, it wasn’t approved for extended distribution. After six weeks and seven whole sales, I took it back down again and returned to KDP Select.

The plan this time is to go directly to B&N and Kobo, the stores that account for most sales outside of Amazon. Those stores also allow the author to upload epub files, which I can generate with Scrivener, rather than the elaborately formatted doc files Smashwords requires.

That said, I’m having a surprisingly good free run with Yseult this time. As I write this, it is at #106 in the free Kindle store, and doing very well in it’s categories:

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Arthurian
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
#5 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy

And that all without getting picked up by the “biggies” Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink. But I’ve been featured on a lot of smaller blogs, one of which, XTME, has led me to mark my best showing on Amazon.de to date.

#22 on Amazon.de

I also want to thank all these other wonderful folks for helping me get the word about about Yseult. Perhaps some of it will help sales pick up in the last part of the month:

Kindle Books and Tips
The KindleBoards Blog
Free Ebooks Daily
Kindle Buffet
Daily Free Ebooks
e-Literati (another German site)

The need to do a bit of promotion has sidetracked my Nanowrimo project a bit, my Pendragon prequel. Ygerna is presently at 12,092 words. I know that for a “novel in a month” that’s a pretty poor showing, but I’m not too worried about it. It’s coming along well, and I’m having fun with it — that’s the main thing.

Getting back into the swing of things

I’ve been back from the States for just over a week now, and I’m slowly recovering from jetlag while I try to get back into my normal routines again. My attempt to jump into Nano a few days late has been pretty pathetic until now — Ygerna (my prequel to Yseult and Shadow of Stone) is presently coming in at a little over 6500 words. But I’m not going to beat myself up over it too much. The last couple of days, my word counts have been increasing to near-Nano requirements, and if this keeps up, I’ll be producing 5,000 words a day by the end of the month and will easily catch up! (*not*)

But seriously, I will get as far along on this project as I can, and if my brain wakes up enough for me to suddenly write much faster again, that will be a pleasant surprise. As usual, I am using the push Nanowrimo gives me to work on something that was on my to-do list anyway. Maybe I’ll have a super-rough draft by the end of the month, and maybe I won’t, but I will have more than I had at the beginning of the month, and that’s good. 🙂

Hope everyone else tackling Nano is happy with their progress!

And now for a silly Halloween pic to keep things from getting too serious:

US trip 2012

That’s me with my brother and sister after we’d had a couple of gin and tonics …

Smashwords and Nanowrimo

I’ve mentioned any number of times goals of “getting this or that up on Smashwords.” I haven’t followed through on very many of those goals, but today I got my first Paypal payment from Smashwords! It wasn’t much, barely enough for a dinner out, but perhaps it will motivate me to follow through on a few more of those ebook goals.

The other motivator at the moment is Nanowrimo, that collective writing insanity that goes on during November. I wasn’t intending to do Nano this year, but then, so many people I know decided to, and you know, the company is good, and it’s fun to be hanging out with a bunch of crazy writers. So on the weekend I got all the notes and plot ideas and characters sketches for my latest novel set up in the Nanowrimo edition of Scrivener. And If you don’t know Scrivener yet, give it a trial run. It’s brilliant. I already bought it for the Mac a couple years back, even bought a used Mac for the sole purpose of writing with Scrivener, but now I’m giving the new Windows version a shot, and even after two days, I already know that I’m going to have to buy Scrivener again. (The Mac and PC versions are separate products, unfortunately.)

So good luck and happy writing to all who are plunging into Nano-month!