After The Fire Mages and The Mages of Bennamore took off rather well, thanks to some paid promotion, The Magic Mines of Asharim, released in September 2015, was less successful. It sold during the promotion, but sales died away straight afterwards. But there were two bright spots: borrows through Kindle Unlimited were high, and emails sent out by Amazon to ‘followers’ produced a bump of around 80 extra sales. Both of these were independent of any promotion by me.
So for The Fire Mages’ Daughter I took the risky step of launching on 15th January 2016 without any paid promotion at all. Since it’s a sequel to The Fire Mages, I made that book 99c for the whole of January, and kept the new book at $2.99; that way readers could pick up both books for the usual list price of $3.99. Then I told my mailing list, blog and social media, and sat back and awaited the crash.
What actually happened:
A splurge of sales over the first few days, which then died away. But borrows were good, as expected. And then Amazon jumped in and started sending out those emails to followers. The result was my best month ever in sales and in revenue. I estimate that those emails brought me an extra 450 sales, plus an unknown number of borrows from the increased visibility. The tail from that is still going on, in the form of sales still well higher than before the new release.
One interesting aspect, for me, was that both The Fire Mages and The Fire Mages’ Daughter sold well, so obviously a lot of people picked up both books. Since The Fire Mages has been my biggest seller by far, I’d expected that most people would already have it. But apparently not. And for some unfathomable reason my ugly duckling book, The Plains of Kallanash, which has never sold terribly well, also shifted far more copies than expected. Now, after five weeks, I’m seeing more sell-through to the other two books.
The power of Amazon to shift books is awesome. Who would have thought that small-fry like me would have so many followers? And Kindle Unlimited has also done very well for me, partly because my books are so long. For my next release, I’m going to experiment further – not just no paid promotion, but no pre-order either. As my mailing list builds up, I’m hoping to make a bigger splash at launch, and hope for some uplift from Amazon’s algorithms.
All the numbers:
A typical week before the new release would be 20 sales spread over all 4 books, and 40K pages read. There were 257 pre-orders (not included in sales numbers below).
Book 5: 99 sales, 30K pages read
Total for all books: 237 sales, 68K pages read.
Book 5: 88 sales, 39K pages read
Total for all books: 259 sales, 95K pages read.
Book 5: 51 sales, 28K pages read
Total for all books: 150 sales, 87K pages read.
Book 5: 37 sales, 20K pages read
Total for all books: 90 sales, 51K pages read.
Book 5: 31 sales, 15K pages read
Total for all books: 78 sales, 47K pages read
Grand totals for first 5 weeks:
Book 5: 306 sales, 132K pages read
Total for all books: 814 sales, 348K pages read
Total sales including pre-orders: 1071