Author Topic: Going wide [UPDATED: FIRST THREE MONTHS]  (Read 2940 times)  

Online PaulineMRoss

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Going wide [UPDATED: FIRST THREE MONTHS]
« on: February 18, 2018, 08:05:50 AM »
When I talked about my reasons for going wide (in this thread: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,260074.0.html) I promised I'd report back on how things were going. So here we go, a month in.

[UPDATED: the second month's numbers are at the bottom of this post]

Executive summary: it's been less painful than expected, technical issues have been few, revenue has only dropped from $21/day to $18.

Technicalities: I have 9 books plus a box set in the series that's going wide (my epic fantasies; the Regency romances will stay in KU a while longer). So far, I've uploaded the first 7 in the series. Kobo is painless, D2D almost so, although I had to adjust my formatting slightly. For anyone who uploads epubs, it would be effortless, I imagine, but I upload Word docx versions. GooglePlay's interface is amusingly retro but I got there in the end, although I had to use the chat feature to get help with finding the W-8BEN tax form. The only hiccup was Apple, but one soon learns to remove all references to Amazon. I already have my links pointing to my website, so I didn't have to change those. I still haven't attempted Smashwords, and at this point I've got four different retailers/aggregators to deal with, including Amazon, and it feels like enough.

Pricing: I already knew I had to price higher than usual on GooglePay to avoid the discount triggering Amazon's price-matching bots. I set book 1 free everywhere else and Amazon price-matched without a murmur, so my perma-free is now up and running. This part was easy.

Promo: I paid a few quid for a Kobo free promo on book 1, which shifted a few free copies but no actual sales. I had a Freebooksy on book 1, which shifted 1K+ free books (excellent for a book that's already shifted more than 10K free copies) and got me a few sales on the rest of the series. I've got more promo coming on ENT, RobinReads and BookBarbarian, all of which allow for links to non-Amazon sites. I've got Facebook ads for book 1 running using the D2D-generated links, set up individually for US/CA/UK/AU audiences, but only the US one is consistently productive at a reasonable cost per click.

Bookbub: epic failure to date, despite being wide. They've accepted my Regency box set (which is in KU) but not the fantasies, although, frustratingly, they held on to one of them for a nerve-wracking 5 days before rejecting it. Ah well.

Sales: Kobo: 3; Apple: 2; B&N: 1; Amazon: 115 (around 4/day, which is much the same as before). There was a bump in Amazon sales for the first couple of weeks, possibly because people working methodically through the series via KU were forced to buy, but that's dropped off now.

Revenue: The low point before the last release in mid-December was around $21/day, 83% of it from KU. Since dropping out of KU, revenue from all sites, plus residual KU income, is $18 per day. That residual KU revenue has a long tail; it's still at 30% of overall Amazon revenue.

The second month

The revenue from KU has all but dropped away to nothing now, so daily revenue hit rock bottom levels of around $13 per day in late February, six weeks after going wide. However, I had an ENT on the permafree first in series on 4th March, and since then sales have picked up noticeably at all retailers, and revenue has inched upwards to $16 per day.

Sales to date in 2 months: Kobo 7; D2D (Apple/B&N) 12; GooglePlay 0; Amazon: 223 (still around 4/day, as before)

I have promotions coming up in April with RobinReads and BookBarbarian, and I still have two more books to upload wide, after which I shall start another round of Bookbub submissions. One can but hope.

So far, it hasn't been as disastrous as I'd feared, but it hasn't done as well as I'd hoped, either. The permafree first in series is definitely working - I've had several days when I've sold one of every other book in the series to someone who obviously read book 1, and that's lovely to see. Of course, if sales were higher I wouldn't see that at all, so there's that.

The third month

So KU revenue is just about gone now - I've made $5 this month lol. I've had 68K pages read credited since I went wide, so not insignificant. I've now had promotions on the first-in-series permafree at Kobo, FreeBooksy, ENT, RobinReads and BookBarbarian, with another possible Kobo promotion later this month. Total free downloads: 5K. Still no joy with Bookbub, sadly. :-(

Sales to date after 3 months: Kobo: 18; Apple: 5; B&N: 9; Amazon 284

Wide + Amazon income from sales is holding steady at about $16 per day, and the monthly average is now at or above the income from sales on last year's low months, those without a new release or a major promotional push. However, sales income wide doesn't come close to replacing the KU income yet, even allowing for the steady decline I would have seen since the last new release in December. And I've spent $850 on promotions of one sort or another, including as-much-as-you-can-spend FB ads. I've reduced all that to one low-cost AMS ad, but I'm a long way from breaking even. That's OK, I'm playing a long game. I plan to stay wide at least until the end of the year, barring seismic shifts in KU-dom.

After this month, I may try setting the permafree to $2.99 for a while (the others are $4.99) and seeing what some more focused ads can do. I'm also reading through Patty Jansen's Unboxed books for ideas that don't make my head explode.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 03:53:03 AM by PaulineMRoss »
 

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Bookbub rejections: 60; SUCCESS!; rejections: 8 and counting...

Offline Sam Rivers

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 08:48:40 AM »
Good luck and hopes it works out for you.
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Offline Day Leitao

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 08:50:54 AM »
Thanks for posting your experience!

I hope things only get better and better from now on.

Offline Fleurina

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 08:52:19 AM »
Hello, Pauline,
An interesting post, and helpful. Thanks. I went wide with my first novel, released in November. A week later I decided to give KU a try. The results have been less than disappointing, apart from hundreds of downloads for the free days.  I've been itching for the KU terms to end and plan to go wide via D2D from later this week.
I hope it all goes wonderfully for you.
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Offline VirginiaMcClain

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 09:15:41 AM »
Thanks for posting this, Pauline! I am just waiting for my latest select terms to expire in May before I go wide with my first two books, and I plan to release my next trilogy wide in October so I find this very informative. Please keep us updated! I hope Bookbub sees the light and runs your wide books soon. :-)
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Offline solo

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 09:25:52 AM »
Thanks Pauline for the information and your candor in sharing information. Now if one or two of the big indie success stories could give us some insights too. Please?

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2018, 09:27:19 AM »
Some quick things about Google - it doesn't look like you've got the series name set on the metadata pages of your Brightmoon books. Google does do series pages which make it easier for readers to quickly identify all the books in the series, so make sure you fill that out. Also, they index your blurb for their search, so you might want to work in some extra keywords there to make your books easier to find. It also looks like you only set one category for your books - epic fantasy.  You can set multiple categories under both BISAC and BIC to help readers who are browsing find your books, so if other cats fit add them.

Did you go direct to B&N, or did you go through D2D? My experience has been that books published direct seem to do better for some reason. I'm not sure if that's just me, and I have no idea why.

Good luck, and be patient! It takes a while to really get rolling. Hopefully Apple will promote your series since the first book is free. They randomly do that with mine from time to time and it can give you a *BIG* boost in sales.

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Offline Simply_J

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2018, 09:36:25 AM »
Pauline, it sounds good for the coming months. Permafree works great wide, and readers are more kind and generous on Google than on Amazon, when it's time for their reviews.

Thank you for sharing your process and your results.

Offline Seneca42

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2018, 09:42:50 AM »
Far from the disaster that wide is typically presented as :) And once your bookbub drops you're off to the races.

Zon will typically always be your best seller regardless, but it's far nicer getting 70% royalties on $5.99 than whatever KU payouts are. And you get the peace of mind (assuming it matters) of not participating in the margin crushing nature of KU.

 

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2018, 09:53:11 AM »
Some quick things about Google - it doesn't look like you've got the series name set on the metadata pages of your Brightmoon books. Google does do series pages which make it easier for readers to quickly identify all the books in the series, so make sure you fill that out. Also, they index your blurb for their search, so you might want to work in some extra keywords there to make your books easier to find. It also looks like you only set one category for your books - epic fantasy.  You can set multiple categories under both BISAC and BIC to help readers who are browsing find your books, so if other cats fit add them.

Thank you! This is really helpful information. I do have the series name set, but I've inadvertantly got two book 1's lol! Thanks for pointing that out. It's on my todo list to add keywords to the blurb (it's a long todo list, in my defence).

Quote
Did you go direct to B&N, or did you go through D2D? My experience has been that books published direct seem to do better for some reason. I'm not sure if that's just me, and I have no idea why.

I'm using D2D for B&N and Apple in the interests of preserving my sanity by having as few places as possible to deal with. I realise there's a downside to that, but at the moment I'm comfortable with that.

Quote
Good luck, and be patient! It takes a while to really get rolling. Hopefully Apple will promote your series since the first book is free. They randomly do that with mine from time to time and it can give you a *BIG* boost in sales.

Thanks. I'm going to give it a year and then review. I know it'll take time.

 

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Bookbub rejections: 60; SUCCESS!; rejections: 8 and counting...

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2018, 09:56:52 AM »
Thanks for posting this, Pauline! I am just waiting for my latest select terms to expire in May before I go wide with my first two books,

I've been itching for the KU terms to end and plan to go wide via D2D from later this week.

You don't have to wait! Once one book of a series has dropped out of Select, email KDP customer support, point out the poor customer experience of having a series partly in and partly out, and ask politely to have the rest taken out. They did mine within 24 hours, and were very nice about it, no finger-wagging or just-this-once or anything.
 

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Bookbub rejections: 60; SUCCESS!; rejections: 8 and counting...

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2018, 10:29:41 AM »
Thanks, Pauline.  I always enjoy your very candid posts.

Weirdly, after being almost exclusively wide I am doing a 3-month KU launch with my latest co-written novella. Of course, I'm also labeling it "The Book We Did Everything Wrong With" (maybe The Learning Experiment would sound better). I wasn't sure how to launch something we gave away as a bonus to most of our core readers, so we're basically just tossing it out there with minimal promo. I'll have to look back, didn't you do a no-promo launch at some point?

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2018, 11:09:07 AM »

Bookbub: epic failure to date, despite being wide. They've accepted my Regency box set (which is in KU) but not the fantasies, although, frustratingly, they held on to one of them for a nerve-wracking 5 days before rejecting it. Ah well.



The Bookbub time to reject is actually good news. Five days means that they were seriously considering your book. They liked it. It was probably just a matter of the competition for slots in that specific time period. Keep submitting!


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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2018, 12:27:47 PM »
I'll have to look back, didn't you do a no-promo launch at some point?

Yes, it was a total disaster.  :D I abandoned it after a week or so, and set up some AMS ads, which had just started, and it did great after that.
 

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2018, 12:28:39 PM »
Thanks for the info, Pauline.  :)

Just out of curiosity, what was the per-retailer breakdown of that Freebooksy ad's 1000+ downloads?  I would guess most downloads came via Amazon, but I'm curious about the numbers at the other places, too.
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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2018, 12:34:46 PM »
Has working the logistics of more retailers/distributors impacted your productivity on new books and projects?

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2018, 12:44:53 PM »
Thanks for the info, Pauline.  :)

Just out of curiosity, what was the per-retailer breakdown of that Freebooksy ad's 1000+ downloads?  I would guess most downloads came via Amazon, but I'm curious about the numbers at the other places, too.

Actually, that number was just the Amazon downloads, and if I include the bump on the two following days, it was over 1500. I've also had 450 free downloads on Kobo, 200 on D2D (Apple, B&N and others) and a handful on GooglePlay, but I can't tell how many were due to Freebooksy. I had a separate promo on Kobo, so some of those downloads are from that. I haven't worked out how to see daily downloads on the other sites, or even if it's possible.
 

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Bookbub rejections: 60; SUCCESS!; rejections: 8 and counting...

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2018, 12:47:15 PM »
Has working the logistics of more retailers/distributors impacted your productivity on new books and projects?

Not really, because I've always had writing time and marketing/editing/other stuff time. I'm taking things slowly at the moment, uploading one book, then making sure that everything's OK, updating the website to match, etc.
 

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2018, 12:56:07 PM »
Yes, it was a total disaster.  :D I abandoned it after a week or so, and set up some AMS ads, which had just started, and it did great after that.

 :o  Eeep! Have to admit I'm spending today setting up at least a few AMS ads before release tomorrow, we have a few blogger reviews, and one genre-specific email blast going out. Overall spend is almost nothing, though.

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2018, 01:53:43 PM »
Actually, that number was just the Amazon downloads, and if I include the bump on the two following days, it was over 1500. I've also had 450 free downloads on Kobo, 200 on D2D (Apple, B&N and others) and a handful on GooglePlay, but I can't tell how many were due to Freebooksy. I had a separate promo on Kobo, so some of those downloads are from that. I haven't worked out how to see daily downloads on the other sites, or even if it's possible.


Thanks for the reply.  :)
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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2018, 03:36:47 PM »
I dont mean to interrupt your thread, but the breakdown of numbers between platforms is useful so Ill add mine to the information mix.

A recent BookBub at 99c did the following over roughly 2 weeks:

Amazon 4,450
Nook 1,000
Apple 700
Google 350
TOTAL 6,500

31.5% of sales were from platforms other than Amazon. Im just loading to kobo and scribd now.

Ive been wide since January 2017 and other than the BookBub in Q1, when I also used ENT, Booksends and a few others, I only used FB advertizing in 2017. This year I trialled running platform specific ads on FB and they worked quite well. I havent tried BookBub CPC ads yet, but I might give them a whirl for kobo.

PS. I should have mentioned those numbers are a mix of discount and full price sales. Post the sale period the full price split has been more like 40 - 60% from the other platforms versus Amazon. It seems the readers on other platforms are happy to pay more. That could be a byproduct of less books or maybe its because they dont have KU. I dont know, but its an interesting point to note.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 03:44:38 PM by TwistedTales »

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2018, 03:51:50 PM »
I dont mean to interrupt your thread, but the breakdown of numbers between platforms is useful so Ill add mine to the information mix.

This is interesting stuff - thanks. And if anyone else wants to chip in numbers, please feel free.
 

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2018, 03:55:34 PM »
This is interesting stuff - thanks. And if anyone else wants to chip in numbers, please feel free.

Ive never tried a freebie run and sometimes I wonder whether its worth a trial, so your numbers from the other platforms is helpful to know.

Like you, Im interested to hear anyone elses numbers as well, even if theyre only expressed as a percentage.

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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2018, 04:39:40 PM »
Some quick things about Google - it doesn't look like you've got the series name set on the metadata pages of your Brightmoon books. Google does do series pages which make it easier for readers to quickly identify all the books in the series, so make sure you fill that out.

Thank you! This is really helpful information. I do have the series name set, but I've inadvertantly got two book 1's lol! Thanks for pointing that out. It's on my todo list to add keywords to the blurb (it's a long todo list, in my defence).

Just a quick FYI, Google Play's series pages are still in beta, so even if you correctly fill out the series metadata, odds are you won't get a series page yet. According to the rep who emailed me back the other day, the pages will eventually be rolled out to everyone. So you should fill out the metadata now, but don't expect a series page to automatically pop up. Knowing GP, it could be quite some time before the functionality becomes available to everybody.
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Re: Going wide - the first month
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2018, 06:38:03 PM »
This is interesting stuff - thanks. And if anyone else wants to chip in numbers, please feel free.

Would love to but all my books are on Amazon, including KU. In addition, it has been only five months,more or less, since I first published. All I have are newbie figures.