Thursday, 15 December 2011

KDP Select . . . Fun

So my latest short was finished at the same time as Amazon's Kindle Desktop Publishing Select programme started. If you enrol a story in Select, you have to make your book exculsive to amazon for 90 days at a time. Your book is then available free to borrow to Amazon Prime members, in exchange you get a small fee for each unique lend. The programme also allows authors to go free 5 days out of the 90. So I put  A Hound Against Hawks and Wolves free for a day and it was . . . fun.

My marketing is minimal, I usually just do blog and forum posts, and I don't think short stories, by unknowns, do that well on Amazon. All that said I was quite pleased with the results. Generally my best amazon ranks tend to be around #342,849 Paid in Kindle Store at the US site, and  #194,246 Paid in Kindle Store on the UK site. During the day it was free A Hound Against Hawks and Wolves was around #1,600(ish) on the US site, and #500(ish) on the UK site. It was also my first time in a Top 100 list, the Top 100 Historical . . .

Number 14 was my highest position in the UK, 33 in the US. Both of which I was very pleased with.

Of course, now it's no longer free it has dropped back down the rankings, but is still way better than most of my shorts (#187,130 US, #19,349 UK). There were also far more free downloads, than my usual sales. Not that, that is hard to do. My downloads topped out at 113 in US, and 46 in the UK. Again, it was fun to see the downloads hit 100. Now that it's no longer free the downloads have more or less stopped. There was one UK sale after it stopped being free. 

So, Select was fun, but did it do any good?

Hard to say. For a start a lot of authors have been doing the same as me; taking advantage of the ability to go free. So there's lots of free stuff at the moment. Very easy for an unknown short story writer's work to get lost ion the deluge. The other worry is will any of those 159 downloaders actually read my story? Because I know I grabbed quite a few freebies from the Fantasy top 100. I downloaded based on cover, and title alone. After all they were free so I didn't need to read blurb, or look inside. I'll just decide within a page or two whether any of these will get read, or get deleted. I'm assuming that'll also go for my story.

One surprising outcome of going free on Select was that I got two sales after announcing it was going free. Both from people who stated they like to see an artist get paid for work. That was a really nice surprise. As was their feedback, which was very good. So Select got me two sales before the story even went free. Since the promotion finished I've only had one sale. Even if that's the sum total of sales generated by going free on select I'd be happy with that.Will I get more out of Select than 3 sales? Hard to tell at the moment, but then again 3 sales on one story is a bumper month for me! :D 

So joining Select and going free has made a modest difference to my modest sales. More than anything though it has been . . . fun.

EDIT: While I was writing this post I went to check some stats for the post, and found I'd picked up a great review on the UK site  . . .

So, puddleduck is now my favourite person on Amazon. :D

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