Sales & Stats

2nd FREE Promotion Report


My second free promotion on Amazon is now complete, and I have to say that I’m thrilled with the result: 768 downloads. An added bonus was that two people signed up for the free short story on this website.

When I logged in to check the figures two hours into the promotion, I was alarmed to see that there had been no downloads. However, a fellow forum member over at The Digital Fix added Monkey Arkwright to the HotUKDeals website, and soon the downloads took off.

Regular readers may remember that I did a five-day promotion back in January, and at the end of this promotion, I speculated that five days was probably too long because the returns diminished sharply with each day. The evidence this time around suggests that the first and second days were almost on a par: 401 and 367 respectively. However, I suspect that if I’d continued over a longer period, the download count would have suffered a similar decline, as suggested by various anecdotal reports on the internet.

The other interesting difference between the two promotions was that back in January, I paid just over £30 to two websites to advertise my free book. My latest results bear out my initial feeling that this money wasn’t worth it: 768 downloads with zero spent vs 847 downloads for £30.

In terms of Amazon rankings, on the UK chart for free downloads, I managed to hit #1 in the coming-of-age category. I also went top 50 overall. Results were much better in the US this time around where I managed to reach #520 in the free chart (vs #2626 last time).

If you’ve downloaded Monkey Arkwright as part of this promotion, thanks for showing an interest. Can I ask a favour? If you get around to reading it, please can I request that you leave an honest review on Amazon – it makes all the difference to us indie authors struggling for some recognition. Thanks.

Events, Sales & Stats

Another Freebie!


Anybody who’s taken the time to read my author bio may have noticed that I’m a Manchester City fan (since 1975 in case you ask, although it’s a long time since I’ve been to a match). Despite the incredible achievements of Pep and his players this season, I haven’t mentioned them in my blog posts so far because (a) you can read much better coverage and analysis elsewhere, and (b) most of you probably aren’t interested.

So let me just say well done to the whole club on winning this season’s Premier League, and I’ll then use this as a tenuous link to the fact that as part of the celebrations, I’m making Monkey Arkwright free to download from Amazon this Friday and Saturday.

Due to Amazon being based in California, the old Pacific Standard Time rule applies, so if you’re in the U.K., this means that it will be free from 8.00AM on Friday morning through to the same time on Sunday.

Feel free to share this joyous announcement with your friends, colleagues, social workers, bloggers and passing acquaintances.

Ta, it’s much appreciated.


Sales & Stats, Writing

Book #2 – Progress Report

Lorna's Diary

I’m still calling it Book #2 because although I have a potential title in mind, I’ve not locked it in as a definite yet.

Anyway, in my last rambling missive, I mentioned that the first chapter was done and dusted and outlined my plan to do all the editing on each chapter as soon as I’d finished it. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. But it’s good news really. I’ve had such a creative burst over the last ten days or so that I’ve managed to write four additional chapters, bringing the grand total to five (see, I’ve even done the maths for you!)

The reason for this partial abandonment of the plan is that my editor extraordinaire, youngest daughter Rachel, has been studying hard for her end-of-term exams and naturally, I didn’t want to disturb her with something as pithy as my writing. Still, driven by cries of “I want to know what happens next, Dad” from eldest daughter Lauren, I thought that it was the right thing to do to plough on, set up base camp and then settle in with a well-deserved mug of coffee and wait for Rachel to catch up.

I did have about 25% of the story planned out in reasonable detail, so this is definitely the easy part. I’ve still got enough in the tank for two or three more chapters, after which I’ll insist that Rachel reads the text in detail so that we can get the first eight chapters locked in. There may then be a short delay in proceedings for holidays and general life as the sun peeks above the treetops and we can venture outside more.

On, and even though I say so myself, the stuff that I’ve written it’s wickedly good – but you knew that, right? Hello? Hello …

In other news, who says advertising doesn’t work? I paid £33 for a recent week-long promotion and got a good number of tweets out of it. Total number of sales during this time: two. I’ll be posting my nomination for businessman of the year next week.


Sales & Stats

1000+ Page Reads

pixabayCC0 - books

Nearly two weeks ago, I wrote a short blog post about my delight in snagging over 100 page reads on Kindle Unlimited. At first, the pessimistic part of me thought that it was probably a single reader, or a handful of readers reading the first chapter and then giving up. But since then, the page reads have been rolling in every day. Last night, it passed the 1100 mark; 1141 to be precise.

This happens to be three whole books, give or take a page. I fully expect that the three readers are now done, and that my page reads will now flatline, but at least that’s going to be worth between 4 and 5 dollars for my next royalty payment.

Given that Monkey Arkwright is priced at the bargain rate of £0.99 / $0.99, the income from the page reads will almost certainly dwarf any sales-related income for this month. This got me thinking; maybe the road to riches looks like an impossibly thick tome that I can convince a few hundred people to read. I’ve got an idea for a story that features a unicycling ice cream man who invents a new flavour of ice cream that he wants to sell around the world – it’s going to be 400,000 pages long and will span a 20-year period. The downside to this foolproof plan is that you might have to wait a while for this one.

Sales & Stats

Kindle Unlimited

Monkey Arkwright Cover

What’s the secret to getting people to read my book on Kindle Unlimited? As part of the Amazon KDP sign-up, you can make your book available to millions of members, and once they’ve paid their monthly fee, they are free to read as many books in the programme as they want.

So, given that Monkey Arkwright is available on Kindle Unlimited, why have I only had two page reads in just over two months? Well, if I knew, I’d be putting it right, but it’s a mystery to me. A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a promotional tweet that included the #KindleUnlimited hashtag. Result: no page reads.

Imagine my surprise when I tried the same trick again and got a massive 76 page reads yesterday. Today, I got another 40 page reads. This could be lots of people giving up after the first page – but given how great I’ve told everybody the first page is, that’s not likely is it* – or it could be one or two new readers who are diving straight in.

Either way, I expect that it’s because a fellow indie author, with a much larger Twitter following than me, kindly re-tweeted my post. So, thanks to Taylor Marsh for the assist. I await tomorrow’s page count with bated breath.

*This is my self-deprecating humour in action; I’m not so vain as to think that I hook everybody on page one!

Sales & Stats

My First Royalty Payment

My first royalty payment has arrived from Amazon.

I’m a proper author now; I’ve been paid for something that I’ve written. Never mind the trivial details such as the fact that I’ve paid more in promotion than I’ve earned. Here’s confirmation of the payment in all its, err, sepia-toned glory:-

Amazon KDP - First payment

£3.39. Given that this represents payment for November, and that Monkey Arkwright only went on sale on 29th November, it’s effectively two days-worth of money. Not sure quite how Amazon work out their payments, given that I had twelve pre-orders, but there you go. I’m not complaining, it’ll just make December’s payment look even sweeter.

The current sales count now stands at 30, which is 15% of my year one target. I did manage to sell four whole books coming off the back of my free promotion, but for some reason, two were refunded. Grrrrr! Don’t people know how important those two books may have been to me meeting my targets? To be fair, it may have been mistaken clicks, in which case, fair enough: the last thing that I want to do is take money from people who don’t really want my book. Wait, there are people out there who don’t want my book? Surely not? I’m going to have to re-think my whole strategy…..

Sales & Stats

FREE Promotion Report

As the clocked ticked past 12.00AM Pacific Standard Time, my first FREE giveaway for Monkey Arkwright ended. After the glorious figures that I reported in my Day #1 blog post, it was back down to earth with a bump for the remaining days. The figures for each day were as follows:-

  • Day #1 = 542
  • Day #2 = 162
  • Day #3 = 80
  • Day #4 = 42
  • Day #5 = 20
  • Day #6 = 1

Due to time zone differences, the deal ran for the first eight hours today, bagging me 1 final free download. As a bonus, I managed to make one sale as well – some part of me wonders whether some poor soul got caught out in the tail end of the promotion and ending up paying after clicking the free link, but I’m sure that Amazon wouldn’t let that happen. Either way, it’s a sale, and I’m having it!

Overall, I’ve got to be happy with the 847 copies of my book that were downloaded. There’s a general rule-of-thumb that on such a giveaway, you get 1% back in reviews. So, hopefully at least eight reviews should be winging their way towards my Amazon page in the next few months. The fact is that many of the people who downloaded the book will have done so because they can’t resist anything that’s free, let alone my book. Still, I’d like to think that between 5% and 10% of the downloads will result in somebody, somewhere in the world reading Monkey Arkwright. It’s nice to think that maybe forty, fifty or even as many as eighty readers will now be devouring the adventures of Monkey, Lorna and Charles Gooch, but the truth is that nobody knows for sure.

Being honest, I’m not convinced that the two promotions that I paid for (just over £30 in total) made a massive difference. Maybe they kept the download count ticking over on the second and third days, but the fact is that the Day #1 total of over 500 was achieved with zero paid promotion – just the goodwill of those people who championed my book on various social media channels. A heartfelt thanks to those people again.

Whilst the promotion was active, I did achieve some decent rankings on the UK store, including a #1 in the “Coming of Age” category and #22 overall in free Kindle books – see my Day #1 post14.12_Jan18_No1INCOA_BestSellerScreen for details.

In the US, it was nowhere near as good: #2626 overall and #49 in the “Coming of Age” category. At the time of the promotion, I only had two reviews on the US site, whilst I had five on the UK site: it’s possible that this goes some way to explaining the difference. Most people check the reviews and ratings before they download, even for free books

So, overall, an interesting experiment. I think that next time, I may limit any FREE promotion to one or two days, as figures that I’ve seen around the web tend to support my own findings in terms of downloads falling off rapidly after the initial frenzy. Now the wait to see whether I get an increase in sales, reviews or Kindle Unlimited page reads in the wake of my promotion.