My first epic fantasy book, ‘The Plains of Kallanash’, was published in September with no promotion, apart from me wittering excitedly on social media. It performed exactly as you might suspect (around 60 sales in the first month before flatlining, and only 3 reviews). I always intended to delay heavy promotion until I had at least three books out, but the new book, ‘The Fire Mages’, is a much more marketable candidate (coming of age, young girl finding her powers, loads of magic), so I wanted to give it a bit of a head-start without pushing the boat out financially.
The plan was to keep it at $0.99 for the first two weeks after release, combining that with some promotion every day. The first week would be smaller sites, with the big hitters in the second week. The objective was to generate steady sales which would give the book some staying power once the price reverted to $3.99.
Did it work? Hell, yes. Sales and borrows combined exceeded 600, so ten times the results for the first release. There was some sell-through for Kallanash, and even now, two weeks after the promotions ended, sales and borrows are still buoyant.
I booked a two-week blog tour with Enchanted Book Tours. I had a Goodreads giveaway which ended a couple of days after release. I also booked slots with 13 promo sites who sent out emails or listed the book on their websites:
BKnights ($21), SciFiFantasyFreak (free), AwesomeGang ($10), EbookLister (free), Flurries of Words ($8), Sweet Free Books ($5), Ebooksoda ($10),BargainEbookHunter ($15); PixelScroll ($15); Booktastik ($5), GenrePulse ($30), BargainBooksy ($40), ENT ($15)
Total promotion expenditure: $261 ($87 for blog tour, $174 for ads).
Sales numbers during promotion:
‘The Fire Mages’ sales: 252; borrows: 48
‘The Plains of Kallanash’ sales: 4; borrows: 4
Best promo sites for this book were: ENT, BargainBooksy, GenrePulse, Bknights, but all of them produced some sales and borrows (borrows were higher than I expected).
Best ranking (briefly): around 2,000 in the US Amazon Kindle store, and appearances in 3 different bestseller lists.
Total sales numbers for the one month since release:
‘The Fire Mages’ sales: 467; borrows: 175
‘The Plains of Kallanash’ sales: 25; borrows: 17
There are now 11 reviews on Amazon.com, 3 on Amazon.co.uk and 6 on Goodreads.
Average sales + borrows over the first month:
Pre-promo (3 days): 23 per day (including 18 pre-orders)
Promo week 1 – free and cheap sites: 13 per day
Promo week 2 – big hitters: 30 per day
Post-promo week 1: 23 per day
Post-promo week 2: 16 per day
During the promotion, ‘The Fire Mages’ was only getting a royalty of $0.35 per sale, but even so, sales and borrows during the promotion covered about two thirds of the cost. The first few days at full royalty ($2.79 per sale) took care of the rest. The books still aren’t in overall profit, but since I paid a lot for cover design, proofreading and so on, I didn’t expect that. Almost three weeks after the last promotion day, I’m still selling and lending a few books a day (10+), ranking is hovering around 15,000 in the US Kindle store, and I am one happy bunny.
Footnote: for anyone who wants the blow-by-blow daily numbers, hop over to the Kboards Writers’ Cafe to the long thread on this (all the numbers are in the first post of the thread).