Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heaven Sent FREE Preview

I've just released a downloadable sneak peek of the third book in the Falling Angels Saga, Heaven Sent. It's FREE. To get it just go to the homepage of my website http://evanlowe.com, scroll down mid page and click on the link. It'll give you a taste of what's in store for Megan in the near future. Heaven Sent comes out in December.

If you're a fan of the Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel covers, the Heaven Sent cover is equally stunning.  Can't wait for it to be sitting right up there next to the others.  I'll reveal it some time in October.  I'm holding off because pretty soon I will be unveiling the cover to the first book in my new Hollyweird series: The Zombie Always Knocks Twice.  That one comes out at summer's end.

As you can tell, there will be lots going on around here for the rest of the year, including some awesome giveaways starting this summer, so you better stay tuned.


Friday, June 15, 2012

The Free Experiment: One Week Later

As you may recall I signed my novel Boyfriend From Hell up for  Amazon's KDP Select Program.  This is the only way you can give books away on Amazon.  My goal was to give away 10,000 copies and get Boyfriend From Hell Propelled onto a number of lists.  These lists (mentioned in the earlier post) are how many book buyers find our books.  My gaol was to be on as many lists as possible and to be on the first page (many buyers won't look beyond a page or two).  At the end of the last post you will see that Boyfriend From Hell had made it onto 8 lists.  (*If you haven't read the two previous posts, I think you should scroll down and read them).

By midnight last Saturday night June 9th I had given away over 10,200 copies of Boyfriend From Hell.  That's where I was at the end of the giveaway.  And while I'd love to have sold that many books in three days, to have 10,000 possibilities for new fans is a very good thing.   But the question that begs answering is did giving all those books away positively affect my sales?  Read on.

On Sunday morning Boyfriend From Hell premiered back on the Kindle paid list ranked at 40,000.  By 10am it had reached 23,750 and was #83 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  So far so good.  I was starting to sell books.  By 10am Earth Angel, the sequel, and not on the KDP program had benefited from the giveaway by reaching #6659 and ranking #19 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  I was clearly selling more books on Sunday than I normally would have sold.  The only thing I could attribute this to is the giveaway.

So here we are, practically one week later.  As of right now (Friday June 15th) 6 days after the end of the giveaway, both books continue to sell pretty well.  Boyfriend From Hell is ranked 12,792 and #41 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  Earth Angel is ranked 15,492 and #54 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  The rankings for both books have been slowly creeping upwards since Tuesday, but both books remain on an Amazon Best Sellers list.

Earth Angel has already improved on its typical monthly sales by over 100%.  I have sold more than twice the number of books I normally would have sold by the middle of the month.  Boyfriend From Hell has reached 70% of a normal month's sales.  However, Boyfriend From Hell is now part of the Kindle Lending Library.  Kindle pays us approximately $2.10 each time someone borrows the book.  Boyfriend From Hell is priced at $1.99 which earns us 35c per book.  So one loan is equal to 6 sales.  As far as earnings go, with Boyfriend From Hell loaning is more profitable.  This month so far I have loaned 15  Boyfriend From Hells.  That's the equivalent of 90 sales. 

The result of my experiment is this:  by giving  away10,000 downloads of Boyfriend From Hell I have made possibly 5000 new impressions (50% of the people who downloaded the book will remember my name or my title).  I have have exceeded Earth Angel's (not on the KDP program) typical monthly sales by more than 100% at it is only the 15th.  I have reached 70% of Boyfriend From Hell's typical monthly earnings and it is only the 15th.  I don't know what the next 15 days have in store for me, but my conclusion (based on what I have seen so far) is that by giving Boyfriend From Hell away I have made many new impressions I may not have made, and possibly doubled my typical monthly sales on two novels. 

I hope some of you indie authors out there find this informative.  I can't say that giving your books away will have the same result as my giveaway did for me, but it seems to me that giving your books away is a sure fire key to bigger sales.


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Free Experiment: Day Two

I awoke this morning at 6AM and logged right in.  That's an early start for me, but I was anxious to see if my numbers had started slipping during the night or had they improved.  I had set up a number of Tweets to go out between midnight and 4AM.  I don't usually Tweet at that hour, but hey, people are up and I wanted to tell them about my free book offer.

I was pleased to discover that during the night Boyfriend From Hell had improved its ranking to #198 overall, down from #242 when I went to bed.  And remember the lower your ranking the better.  Day one was a success as far a giving books away goes, and day two was starting out on the right foot.

My publisher wrote me at 11:35 to say we had given away 1760 books.  Up from 1102 at bed time.  He has constantly told me 2000 free downloads was the magic number where things start happening for you sales-wise.  My ranking had also dropped again to #152.  I was heading toward the Kindle Top 100.

He wrote me again an hour later to say I had made it--2380 downloads.  Now I want you to stop for a minute and consider that while these are not sales, I have just been introduced to 2380 people I might never have met.  2380 new opportunities to find life-long fans.  If you've read my post on impressions, The Way I See It: Impressions you will remember I said before you can have sales you must have impressions.  I just made an impression on 2380 people.  Some of these will definitely result in sales.

Once I reached that magic threshold something good happened.  The Boyfriend From Hell sequel, Earth Angel, began selling as well.  It was around 67,000 when I woke up this morning.  By 3pm it was at 14,163.  At 5pm it was 10,846, and now Earth Angel was starting to appear on some of the important lists I mentioned yesterday.  I don't have exact sales figures.  I will have to get those from my publisher.  But I am definitely selling far more books today because of the BFH freebie.

It's 10:20 PM on Friday and EA is currently ranked 9272 and in the top 100 on 5 lists.  By the way, my UK numbers have improved as well.  So I am selling books on two continents at their regular price all because I gave Boyfriend From Hell away.  Here is my end of day tally for BFH  day two:

Not sure on downloads (over 2500)
#48 Overall Kindle Store
#1 Children's Spine-Chilling Horror
#1 Girls & Women
#1 People & Places
#2 Children's Sci-Fi Fantasy & Horror
#3 Children's Fiction
#4 Children's ebooks
#43 Fiction (this is all fiction books in any genre offered for free)

I consider day two a rousing success.  Not only have I cracked the vaunted Kindle 100--and yes, I understand it's the free store and not the overall store, but that's still an accomplishment--but I have two books on a number of lists--lists readers use in making their reading selections.  I'm not sure what Day Three has in store, but Day Two has already proven that if you give books away you will sell more books.  Stay tuned.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Free Experiment: Day One

Today is the first day of my grand experiment to prove once and for all that giving your ebooks away will increase your sales.  If you read the previous The Way I See It post you know that I enrolled Boyfriend From Hell in Kindle's KDP program.  My goal is to give away enough books to propel Boyfriend From Hell back into the top 100 category Best Sellers after the Free promotion is over.  My ambitious goal is to see Boyfriend From Hell in the top 100 overall in the paid Kindle store.  Last March it reached #168 overall--close but no cigar.

I woke up this morning to find Boyfriend From Hell #4403 in the free Kindle store.  I was very encouraged.  I imagine there are probably 1-200,000 free books available on Kindle in any one day.  Starting my day around 4000 was extremely good.

When I checked my ranking at 10:30AM BFH had reached #675 in the free Kindle store.  I had just finished playing tennis and was checking on my phone.  I smiled to my opponent (who beat me, by the way) and said "It's working."

By lunch time BFH was #418, but more importantly my ranking was very low on several of their category Best Seller (or in today's case best Freebie) lists.  If your goal is to sell a lot of books on Amazon it is important to be on a number of category lists.  You make these lists by being a top 100 seller or free downloader in a category.  Readers peruse these lists regularly.  If you're in the top 20 of a list you're on the first page.  Being on the first page is where you will get the most action because you'll be most easily seen.  These lists are the best way to find new readers--people you may not attract with your blog or Twitter.  By 12:30 I was #4 in Girls &  Women and #6 in Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.

At 2:30 I was #307 in the overall store and #2 in Girls & Women and #4 In Children's Spine-Chilling Horror.  At 5PM I was # 249 overall and #3 in both categories I mentioned. 

So in general I was feeling good about the day. It's my first day and my ranking had been continually dropping.  I checked at 6:30 and my overall ranking was #242, only a slight improvement, however, I was now in the top 10 on another list.  I was #2 in Girls & Women, #3 in Children's Spine Chilling Horror and #3 in People & Places.  This represents more readers seeing my book, more readers downloading my book, and hopefully in the future, more readers BUYING my book.  Okay, it's just after 7pm.  I'll be back in a few hours with a wrap-up, and at that time I hope to tell you how many books I have given away for free today. I am awaiting that info from my publisher..........

It's 11pm.  Here's my final tally for day one:
1102 Free Downloads
#250 Overall Kindle Store
#2 Children's Spine-Chilling Horror
#3 Girls & Women
#5 People & Places
#6 Children's Sci-Fi & Mystery
#28 Children's Ebooks

BFH made five lists and is on the first page on four of them.  Hopefully that will propel more readers to discover the book and propel me to more free downloads tomorrow.  We'll see.  All-in-all I consider day one a success.  But will it lead to sales?  Stay tuned and find out.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Way I See It: Put Up or Shut Up!

Today I plan to put my money where my mouth is--literally.

In my March 14th The Way I See It post I explained to readers how giving your books away for free could be your ticket to big sales.  Free has worked for me.  I give away several paper books and ebook downloads just about every week.  I participate in contests and freely (pun intended) give books to bloggers who request them.  Free is part of my marketing strategy.  This strategy seems to be paying off as Boyfriend From Hell reached as high as #168 overall in the paid Kindle store, #1 in the category Children's Spine-Chilling Horror and #8 in Children's and YA sales on Amazon.  Earth Angel logged one notch behind it in all three categories.

Today I'm going push free to new limits for myself, and I'm going to invite you along with me on my grand experiment to not only prove that free books help propel your book sales, but to prove something I said in the earlier post--the more books you give away, the more you will sell.

To prove this, I have asked my publisher to enter my Best Selling novel, Boyfriend From Hell into the KDP Select program.  If you don't know about the program please read my post FREE: Your Ticket To Big Sales.  In a nutshell, the program does two things: it allows you to participate in the Kindle Lending Library, and it allows 5 days in a 90 day period that you can give your enrolled book away for free.  The lowest you can sell a book for on Kindle is 99c unless you are enrolled in the program.  The program, however, has one negative caveat--while your book is enrolled, you can ONLY sell it on Amazon.

This caveat has kept me from pursuing the KDP program.  And in fact, when I requested that my book be enrolled, my publisher was reluctant.  Why?  I am among the few authors who sells a lot of books for the Nook.  Promotions aside (like a Kindle Nation Daily feature) I sell more books on the Nook than on the Kindle.  We don't know why.  I attribute it to my activity on Goodreads, but that's just a guess. 

This past month while on vacation, and with no promotion, my Nook sales beat Kindle sales 3 to 1.  For a struggling author this could represent nearly $1000 in revenue during a down month, and even more during a good month.  However, I believe after I've given away thousands of books during the experiment, I will sell many thousands more, and hopefully even enter the vaunted Kindle 100--the top 100 ebook sellers on Amazon.  So, hasta la vista Nook owners.  For the next 90 days Boyfriend From Hell ebook will be available on Amazon alone.

Starting on Thursday I will put my money where my mouth is and begin giving Boyfriend From Hell away for FREE for three days (June 7,8,9).  If you are a blogger friend or a Twitter friend I would appreciate it if you blogged or tweeted that Boyfriend From Hell will be free.  I will give daily updates as to how I am doing in this experiment, and update you again after the book has gone back on sale.  After all, sales is what we're after.

I have convinced my publisher to be excited about this experiment.  This is an exciting time to be an author.  Oh, one more thing.  If you are into borrowing books, Boyfriend From Hell is now part of the Kindle Lending Library.  Starting today you can borrow it for free, and I will get paid by Amazon for the loan.  This is a win-win for both authors and readers.  So please check back on Thursday when my FREE experiment begins.  And wish me luck.