Sales & Stats



The period following a free promotion is a strange time. Depending on the number of days that you’ve been giving your book away for free, you’ll have got used to watching those magic blue bars rising from the horizon like newly-constructed skyscrapers

You see, on the Kindle Direct Publishing page, blue bars equal free downloads whilst yellow bars (or maybe it’s meant to be gold bars?) equal bona fide sales – sometimes, but more on that in a minute.

But for now, back to the blue bars. As I noted in my previous post, I got a good run of free downloads over my two-day giveaway, and you’d be amazed how addictive it is hitting the refresh button and seeing that that count has gone up by three or four units in less than a minute. Just imagine if these were real sales as opposed to free downloads. I sometimes wonder if authors such as Stephen King and JK Rowling sit there hitting F5 and shouting out to their other half that sales of their latest book have increased by 300 in the last 30 seconds.

Authors like yours truly, operating at what can only be described as the “lower than a snake’s belly” sales mark, sometimes go for days or weeks without seeing a little yellow mark indicating a sale. So, it does feel gratifying to see that the blue markers move a lot faster. All psychological of course as 700 times free still equals no money! But in all seriousness, it’s nice to know that people are downloading Monkey Arkwright, and hopefully, a small percentage of them will read it.

So, to the point of this post: what happens when the sale period ends. Logic tells you that if you’ve been giving your book away for free for several days, nobody is going to buy it in the immediate return to normal price, right? Well, as it turns out, that is wrong. I had read in more than one place that one of the benefits of offering a free download was a short-term boost in sales. The yellow bars below show that this is indeed the case.


Six sales in one day represents my biggest day of sales since the first few days following the launch. Whilst this seems like cause for joy unbridled, as ever, there is a caveat. I couldn’t celebrate yet because something similar happened last time, and three of my four sales were taken back in the dreaded “Units Refunded” column. Whilst I haven’t found a satisfactory explanation for this, I have come to accept that it must be some weirdness on the part of the Amazon sales algorithm – maybe counting the last few free downloads as a sale. Several times a day after the sale ended, I kept hitting refresh on the “Month-to-Date” tab, praying that my precious sales would not be revoked. I’m pleased to say that although two of them were, four held firm. Even better, I’ve even had two more sales since. Happy days!


It’s been a pretty good month overall. Two or three people seemed to have discovered Monkey Arkwright on Kindle Unlimited, giving me a health pages read count for the month.

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