Author Topic: The Ninety-Ninth review - and validation of the "loss leader" in a series  (Read 820 times)

Offline sgroyle

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"You may not learn much from this book but you won't be bored I occasionally buy 99c books but this is the first one I ever read all the way through, going to read the next one right now" - that's the latest review - the 99th review on the first book in a series selling at .99 cents.

I started writing seriously in 2009. Put out my first novel in December 2010, and one a year since. Between the Day Job, and how much I think about the story before I start writing, one a year is my goal. Between the three novels I sell somewhere between 250 and 350 a month, the vast proportion of that between the two books in the series - a third is being added this year. As I mentioned above book #1 sells for .99 cents and Book #2 sells for 4.99.

I've been fortunate to gain a group of followers who seem to like my work, and within that group some hard-core junkies who're on me for a new release all year long - I love them dearly, I do, they're the carrot and the stick all rolled up in one.

A couple of things I've noticed with the series books:
1. Book #1 always starts out strong out of the gate, the BBOS are usually gone by mid-day, and leads the sales through the month; until the fourth week when Book #2 surpasses it. From anecdotal evidence I reckon this is people who've read book #1 going on to buy book #2.

2. "Bad" reviews don't affect sales - not one bit - of course it helps if you have a bunch of good ones to offset and it's scary when you first get one. After the third or tenth, you just think "oh well," and move on...

3. Book #2 has about 10% of the reviews of Book #1; reviews will come, just be patient. The reviews of Book #2 are higher than Book #1 (the people who didn't like your style have left).

I don't do much marketing, occasionally buy an ad; I've never tweeted "buy my book". I have a website where every now and then I pontificate and a FB page where I keep in touch with my readers. I do my own covers (each costs about 10 dollars and a day's worth of time, and ebook formatting. I have an awesome editor, who's lovely, diligent and patient.

I'm not on any top 100 lists although I've been there a few times; both free and paid. I'm not in Select anymore but it was fun while it lasted. I sell about 5% print books to ebooks. 97% of all sales come from Amazon.

Every month for the past 18 months sales are higher than the month before. It's just the beginning.

Simon Royle | author website | blog | facebook | twitter | google+

Offline Victoria J

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It's good to hear things are going well for you. I have a group of readers too. About three.  :(

Offline sgroyle

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Hi Victoria,

Hopefully my post didn't come off as boasting. I wasn't. Where I'm at is hardly a roaring success and it took a Lot of hard work, lotta freebies, money spent on Bookbub ads, Kindle Nation (back when they were it in 2010), and a lot of writing to reviewers to get reviews to lift profile of the book back in 2011.

I've changed the cover of Tag three times and the blurb three times.

If I had to sum up my experience I'd say I love writing but I hate publishing - and it's publishing that pays the bills. In the very beginning, when sales were low I did EVERYTHING everyone has ever recommended; from here at KB to other places - when I find out which part worked I'll write another post.

Simon Royle | author website | blog | facebook | twitter | google+

Offline blakebooks

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Simon's good people, everyone. I really enjoyed Bangkok Burn, and have the second book on my kindle to read (which I'm now behind on by about a year). It couldn't happen to a better bloke.

Congrats, my friend. I still need to get over to Thailand, you lucky bugger. Maybe next year. This year's spoken for. Sigh...


Offline ToniD

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Hey Simon, good to see you here. I appreciate the thoughtful post. I'm glad to hear the writing is going well.

"It's just the beginning"

I'm going to write that on a post-in and stick it on my forehead.


Toni Dwiggins

Offline whatdanwrote

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Thanks for sharing! It's interesting to hear how things are going for you.


Offline Li Chaka

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Good to hear it's going well. I have 2 dedicated readers so far. LOL. I just started kind of and it's slow going right now, but I see momentum picking up. Slowly but surely, onward and upward :)

Offline Alan Petersen

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Awesome, man! I got Bangkok Burn on my Kindle, but I haven't read it yet (I should see if I can be review #100, ha). I love Thailand so I picked it up. Not sure if it was from your sig or what, I don't remember. But I like these type of posts. Good stuff.

Keep rocking it!

Offline sgroyle

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Thanks for the nice wishes everyone.

Blake you being in Thailand would be fun - dangerous but fun.

Toni - really it is the beginning; keep working, getting better, putting out content. The longer you're in the game the more game you've got.

Li Chaka - It's a double marathon, it will build.

Alan - thanks and I will.

Simon Royle | author website | blog | facebook | twitter | google+

Offline momilp

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Simon, congrats on your success. I come here every day to read posts like yours. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to share results worth mentioning. Meanwhile, I am happy to do something I love.

Worlds in Words
Monica La Porta | monicalaporta

Offline John Hamilton

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Simon, good to hear from you! Early on you featured one of my books in your blog. That meant a lot starting out, and I'm grateful. So happy to hear your writing is taking off. Best of luck!
John Hamilton - blog

YA Thriller

Horror
Isle Royale (US) (UK)
Shipwrecks, gangsters, and the mother of all storms.
Living in a lighthouse can be murder.


Night Touch (US) (UK)
An ancient evil rises:
How far will a man go to save his soul?

Offline Shane Murray

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Great read, especially the bit about the bad reviews :)

Offline sgroyle

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@ Momilp "Meanwhile, I am happy to do something I love." Everyone I know who has become successful, writes because they love writing, and it makes them happy - you're on the right track.

@John - It was my pleasure to help, John and thanks for the best wishes.

@Shane - when you first get a bad review, it's shocking and being the sensitive souls most of us writers are, can be extremely upsetting causing all sorts of odd notions of writing to the person who left that 1 star on your baby and trying to explain how they must have misunderstood... which of course is the road to hell paved with good intentions. Fact is some people won't get it; some people like eating avocado, some hate it, and others are ambivalent - it's about the same with books.

Simon Royle | author website | blog | facebook | twitter | google+

Offline KevinH

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This is great.  Thanks for sharing the benefit of your insight and experience, and congrats on your success.

Offline Eric C

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Congratulations, Simon, and thanks for sharing (and thanks as well for interviewing me regarding The Prophet Motive way back when at the dawn of Kindle).

Offline sgroyle

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@ KevinH Thanks much appreciated and any insights are the result of out-sized oversights unless they're insights gleaned from your own wisdom

@ Eric C. I remember. I liked Phrophet Motive. Yes, it was wild back then, back when.... gotta say now is as good and better.... :) I see many people concerned about this or that or the other... just write a story and put it out there - as simple and as complex as that.

Simon Royle | author website | blog | facebook | twitter | google+

Offline JFHilborne

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Steady is a great way to go and one book a year is commendable. That's what I've aimed for, too.

Offline RuthNestvold

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Congrats! My (admittedly limited) experience would seem to support your 99c strategy.

I recently lowered the price of my novel Yseult to 99c (a humongous fantasy novel, coming in print at between 600-750 pages, depending on formatting and language). Last month was the single worst month for sales I've ever had since publishing Yseult, my first ebook, in January 2012. This month, I already have almost twice the sales for Yseult compared to June, only four days into the month.

I never wanted to give away a novel of epic proportions for pennies, but those are pretty impressive numbers. I think I'm going to have to continue the experiment for a while, even though Book III is far from finished.
    Ruth Nestvold
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Offline melco99

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Very reassuring and it goes to show that customer retention, not promotion that is the key. Awesome progress! I wrote a cycling memoir, but I have realised since that there is a very small market for that. Novels are where it's at it would appear. Still I'm proud of my book, 1 sale a day will grow into greater given time. I hope. Everybody has loved it so far, that have reported back to me.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 03:46:10 PM by melco99 »