Nov 03

First-time Amazon Countdown Results

This post is meant for newer authors interested in doing their first Countdown deal. I provide this information for my fellow first-timers, both now and in the future, along with anyone else who will benefit from this information.

For reference, I began my first countdown deal on October 18, ran it for a week in the US, then began my 2nd in the UK on October 26. I got:

10 Sales in the US, 5 during the $.99 promotional (30 hours) then 5 during the 1.99 promotional (Next 4 days). The remaining 2 days at 2.99 got me nothing.

4 Sales in the UK, all of which was £.99.

No reviews in either section.

So, what’s my analysis?

This promotional did not go quite as smooth as I hoped. I tried to time some promotional tweets for the $.99 but they came at 5-7am before anyone woke up. I uploaded a fresh copy to Amazon, but they took many hours longer than usual and my book didn’t go online until I sent them emails. Also, Amazon hit some kind of tracking glitch where sales were not immediately reflected on a book’s ranking. This caused me to lose a lot of potential outreach that I assumed the .99 promo would net me (It did eventually hit at midnight, but quite late). In the UK, I had family come in the same day my promo hit, so I didn’t focus much there at all, only tweeting it a couple times.

Any good news for this sale?

~TAP hit top 50 in the New Adult/College category, which Amazon had only placed TAP in the day before (the highest I saw it was #41).

~5 of the 14 sales were KU, which pays me the same no matter how cheap TAP was. Countdown deals are a great time to net KU sales, which otherwise don’t pay as much for a full-length novel.

~Because I was not actively promoting TAP in the UK, but it was getting hits anyway, I can safely say that Amazon WAS marketing my novel for me. It was not by much, but enough to grab attention.

~Even though I didn’t sell more than I hoped for, my social sites blossomed during this. I got a huge following on Twitter and Facebook got more hits than any other post (and all it got was just 1 share!)

~I made only slightly more than I did the previous week, but I got 5x as many readers.

What do I recommend to other newbies enrolling in KDP Select?

1. Don’t split your Countdown deals up, at least not on your first try, and not while you only have 1 book out.

You need maximum exposure, and it needs to hit all at once. I tried to maximize my exposure during the Halloween season. It didn’t sustain itself like I thought it would. I suspect I would’ve done far better if I had kept the same schedule, but ran the US and UK deals at the same time.

Remember, Kindle Select contracts renew every 90 days, and if you did a promo just after the month-long wait, your next chance is in 60 days. Get creative then. Promote your book now.

2. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. Have a back-up plan. Be ready to market your book harder when your promo schedule falls apart. Don’t leave your fate to chance.

As I stated earlier, I hit several problems along the way, but I can attribute the sales I got to the hard marketing I did on twitter. Facebook and a couple other sites also picked up the slack. Had I done nothing and just gave up, I’d be lucky to have any sales. Some people get none.

3. The longer your sale is, the more marketing you should expect to do.

Don’t confuse this with “working harder”. You can hire other people to promote your book or get some family/friends to help spread the word. I chose to market most of this myself, but I did still coordinate tweets and some word-of-mouth with others. Neither way is wrong, just make sure you’re prepared.

This is also another reason to market your countdown deals at the same time. At the making of this post, Amazon only has deals for the US and the UK. They may have more when you’re ready to try.

4. Remember, your book is on sale. You likely won’t get as much as you normally do.

Unless your sales pour in by the hundreds (which you better not expect), this is going to hurt a newbie’s royalty check two months down the road. The whole point is not to make money, but to attract readers. Don’t lose sight of that. Don’t be discouraged.

5. Lastly, Double-check to make sure your work is in perfect shape!

It doesn’t matter how many times you looked and your work seemed perfect. Check it again. This is your first Kindle sale. Don’t play around with it. Take it by the horns!

Good luck. Feel free to leave me any questions or comments below.