Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Results of an Amazon Kindle Giveaway One Month Later

A month ago, I posted my numbers from an Amazon Kindle giveaway. If you haven't read that post, click on the link and check it out. Now let's look at the numbers on month on. Has the giveaway, which moved 1684 copies of Radio Hope in nine countries, shown a significant increase in sales?

Radio Hope is the first book in my Toxic World post-apocalyptic series, which includes two more volumes plus a novelette set in the same world.

So in the four weeks since the giveaway ended, I've sold three copies of Radio Hope, seven copies of Refugees from the Righteous Horde (Toxic World Book Two), seven copies of We Had Flags (Toxic World Book Three), and four copies of The Scavenger (a standalone novelette). This is disappointing as it is not a significant rise over a usual four-week period.

The picture looks very different when you look at read pages from the Kindle Online Lending Library. This is a service for Kindle Prime members. For a fee they get unlimited access to ebooks in the Kindle Select program, which includes my entire Toxic World series. While it's free for them, we still get paid for every page view, called a KOLL unit. A KOLL unit changes in value every month but is generally about half a cent. Thus is someone in the program read Radio Hope, a 268 page book on the Kindle Lending Library, I'd get $1.34.

My KOLL units for the past four weeks have been as follows: Radio Hope (8194), Refugees from the Righteous Horde (7735), We Had Flags (6419), The Scavenger (325). This is a huge jump, over ten times my normal numbers. When you consider that my novels run 268, 390, and 341 pages (with The Scavenger only running 72 pages) you can see that's a lot of new readers.

(I'm lumping the numbers from all countries. The majority are from Amazon US, with about 15% from the UK and a small amount from Canada)

So why the disparity? It seems I've captured the attention of those most loyal of Amazon customers, the Prime customers. These are the ones who don't mind paying a monthly fee to have access to lots of free stuff. This is a distinct type of customer we're seeing a lot of in this new world, in publishing, video, and music. They've found my series and are up for reading it for free. What's nice about these figures is that a lot of people have already made it through the third book in the series. I'm also getting a lot of reads of the first book in the series. So people who missed Radio Hope's initial giveaway spotted the book through Amazon's algorithms and are picking it up.

So while Kindle Prime members have found my book, my giveaway did not help earn me more traditional customers who simply plunk down their money to download the ebook. I also did not see a commensurate rise in sales for my other titles. None of them are science fiction, so that may be the problem, or maybe it's just too early to tell. It's only been four weeks, after all, and a large number of the 1,684 people who downloaded Radio Hope will not have read it yet. Some won't read it for weeks or months from now. Others will never read it. So it goes.

I've also gotten half a dozen new reviews on Amazon, critical for indie publishers. All were four or five stars except for one three-star review. I also earned a few four- and five-star reviews on Goodreads plus I got added to many people's "to read" or "reading" list. This sort of thing is great for visibility, so maybe I'll attract some more of those traditional customers in the future.

If you're an indie writer and found this useful, feel free to share your own experiences in the comments section. We can all learn from each other!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting that it's mostly Prime customers reading your series. What about on other platforms? Or is it available on other platforms? (I know I downloaded A Fine Likeness through iTunes.)

Sean McLachlan said...

Alex: My Toxic World series is the only one in Kindle Select, meaning exclusive to Amazon. The rest are distributed through Smashwords.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.