Monday, January 11, 2016

So promos do work!

As many of you now know, my publisher reduced the price of my book The Skipper's Child to 99p for ten days after Christmas. This was part of a programme of promotions they are running to increase the exposure on many of the books on their list and to try and reach more readers in the hopes of garnering more reviews. We've all been told that more reviews mean better and more sales, and apparently this is particularly true when it comes to Amazon who (I understand) will only advertise books with over 25 reviews. Given that the vast majority of e-books are sold by Amazon too (unfortunate as I hate their monopoly, but true), this tells its own story about the future of books with no or few reviews.

The author makes virtually nothing out of such promotions, but I was curious to see whether the reduction would work in terms of reaching more readers. Well, I can say with a big smile on my face that it does! For the ten days my Skipper's Child was on special, it reached the number one spot in its category on several days on Amazon UK and went up and down in the top fifteen on Amazon US for the best part of a week. I don't actually know how many were sold (my publisher has those figures) but it was very gratifying and really exciting to see.

What has excited me even more - and yes I am a child about these things - is the number of new reviews I've had. Now bear in mind it's taken about three years for the book to collect ten reviews on each of the two main Amazon sites, the fact I've now got seven more in the space of two weeks is cause for lots of whoops and big cheers of delight. And I think my personal hope has been realised in that people now appreciate it's not just a teenagers' book.

It's about a family, yes, and there are no what you might call 'x rated' elements in it, true, but I really wanted anyone of any age to be able to read it. In so many senses, I wrote it for myself. The reader I was at twelve is to a great extent the reader I am today. My parents never restricted what I read and I could dive into any book on their shelves, so the Skipper's Child was the sort of book I would have read then and still like to read now - a period novel about a way of life I knew nothing about until I came here. Writing it taught me what I would have wanted to know from reading it.

So there it is - a ten day flurry of activity, promotion and sales that was fun to do and has produced some rewarding results. It worked! Like all authors, I love to know people have enjoyed what I've written and so far it seems they have. I'm prepared for those who haven't though, and my skin's been thickening up over time. That's something all writers have to work at, but for today at least, I am basking in the glow of knowing those who have reviewed it have liked my Skipper's Child and his stowaway friend, Dmitri. I've been asked if I will be writing a sequel, and the answer is 'maybe'... if I have time. But the prequel is coming first!

18 comments:

  1. Many thanks for your latest blog post Val. It is very interesting to know how the on line publishing business works or fails the writer.
    I can see now why so many people self publish with small runs.

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    1. Self-publishing is one of the most popular online developments, Mel. Most of mine are self-published. This one not, but it's a small indie publisher and they word hard for their authors. By the way, nearly all books are printed on demand now. It's the only way small publishers can reduce their risks.

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  2. It's an interesting point, Val - reducing the price to get reviews v more sales. Will have a Big Think about this when I get back!!

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    1. Jo, judging from this experience (okay, it's just once) I think it works over a short period. I am not in favour of freebies, but short term reduction seems to have benefits. I admit I tweeted it a lot and did some blog posts too to help. For this type of promo, I don't really care so much about sales as readers and it seems to have helped broaden the scope. By the way I hope After the Earthquake continues to do well while you are away. We'll keep that flag flying!

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  3. Brilliant news, Val. Something for all of us to think about for the new year...

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    1. Thanks, Anita (or is it Jaye?)! I have a feeling it's worth it when combined with blog posts and tweets. I'll be having another one for my other Sunpenny book later, so I'll see how that goes!

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  4. Yeah! Well done Val ! I hope it continues to sell well.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Anne! Of course one of thiose reviews is a very important one that was also a blog post by a well-known book blogger to whom I'm very very grateful ;)

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  5. So glad the promotion worked for you, Val. It's strange to think that knocking the price right down will help you make money in the end but if that is the outcome then well done to your publishers.

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    1. Ros, I hope it does in the end, but this exercise was more to get wider exposure and readers. If what they say about reviews is true, then the more reviews we have, the more people are likely to give our books a try. Time will tell if it really increases sales, I suppose. We live in hopeful anticipation!

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  6. The first time I read your blog (after Herbie posted on his) was when you informed readers that your book was available at a reduced price. I went into Amazon and read some of the reviews and have now purchased all those available. I’ve not read any of them yet but will post a review on Amazon when I do. BTW I enjoy reading your blogs too.

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    1. Thank you, Carol! That is incredibly kind and generous of you! And I'm glad you enjoy my blog too. Herbie's is quite an act to follow :) I've followed Neil's blog for years and really love it. Narrowboating is a dream I still have to achieve, but I'm hoping that one day, I'll be able to spend some time cruising on the English canals. I see you are a full time cruiser from your profile..I'm more than a bit envious!

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  7. Val, this is great news and a lot of information on how Amazon sales work. Who wouldn't like your clear, concise writing style? I will be getting a copy of The Skipper's Child soon! Lynn

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! I really appreciate the 'concise' part. I have to work at that :)

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  8. Our snow is dry - they call it "champagne powder". You should try it some time! :) xx

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    1. Hmm, no Dale. I think I'll stick to the warmer side of life :)

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  9. That is very interesting! I might put the kindle version of The Mystery of Lewis Carroll on promo, just to give it a try. Sales are a bit slower than they were a few months ago. :)

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    1. It's worth a try, Jenny! But then you need to support the promo through the other avenues: Blog, Twitter and Facebook if you do it! It may be bias on my part, but I have a feeling blogging works best in combination with Twitter.

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