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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, for a week or so I was selling at least one or two books a day. I know, not a lot, but for my first book and limited marketing, I was proud of that. But in the past three days I only sold one. Usually, I sell more in the UK, but it just died off there. Is it just that time of year? Are there times I can look forward to better sales?  I am revising my book a bit more as I found some errors. After that, I will focus on getting the second book done.

In the meantime, for those of you who have been at this longer than me, would it help if I dropped from $2.99 to .99?

 

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The New year started well for me but over the last few days the sales have just taken a dive for no reason. I have one book on promotion at the moment but even as a freebee not one is biting. The first time I put a book free with the select program thousands of copies were taken, now only a few hundred.
I wonder if the market is saturated or maybe people are avoiding using Amazon over their tax scandal.
I would be pleased to hear other peoples experience.
 

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I have been doing this for about 13 months, and sales always stall.  Basically, it seems like Amazon's reporting gets frozen.  Though it can happen at random times, it generally always happens a few days (to a week) before the monthly reports come out (which is where we are right now), and a few days (to a week) before the payments go out. 

And, also, you may see no activity while someone else does.  It seems as though there are different servers, so some people experience the freeze while others do not.  Of course, this is all my own opinion based on what I've seen and heard. 

Generally, the last couple days of the month there will be a small surge to make up for what was never reported. 

As for the free runs.  Different books do differently, but the first run is generally always the best.  You can run the same title again, and it doesn't do nearly as well.  And, some books don't get almost any downloads.  It can simply be that the sites advertising free books don't pick that title up on it's first free day, or that the book is in a lower-trafficked genre, or that it just doesn't show up well in Amazon's searches. 

I've found that if I just focus on writing more and releasing more, I'll still sell an overall average number of books.  That's easier to deal with than one title going cold, or not selling at all.  I have about 23-24 novellas out, and 7-8 of those probably don't sell at all.  Ten, some just sell 1-2 copies a day.  Then, there are others that seem to sell 10 a day.  So, all in all, it's worth it to just keep writing and publishing.  :)

The freezes are frustrating, but you'll quickly learn that Amazon does it's own thing...they never explain anything and there's nothing we as writers can do, but at least enjoy we have a great job where we can sit at home and write to earn a living.  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I was selling decent in the UK, then BAM...nothing all week. I sold ONE copy in the US yesterday.  But I have also been revising my book and republishing.  I found a lot of mistakes thanks to reviews and comments and I wanted to fix them. Most have been fixed.  I wonder if republishing screws with the algorithms I am reading so much about.  Either way, I am almost done with my revisions, I plan on sending a copy to an English major for a final editing then I will leave it alone. I want to get back to the second book.


Oh, and thank you guys for commenting, I will go like your books  = )
 

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We have a box set that has been riding in the Top 100 for the past 3 weeks. Using the number of daily sales it's taken to keep it there, it looks like overall sales volume at Amazon.com has dropped off maybe 6-7% from Jan 7 to Jan 11 compared to Jan 1 to Jan 6.

Keep in mind that the 2 weeks post-Christmas saw sales volume to be about 20% above what it was pre-Christmas, so that means the .com Kindle Store's sales volume is still about 13% higher now than it was pre-Christmas.

Also, there are daily fluctuations. Yesterday's sales volume appears to be up day-over-day about 6% from Jan 10's, which was up about 4.5% over Jan 8. Daily numbers for Top 100 titles, however, can be influenced by things like number and/or quality of books in the Daily Deal. What matters more is the weekly and monthly trending.

Note these numbers are likely off a couple of percentage points +/- due to server lag in reporting sales numbers and ranks. While exact percents are observational only, the trending over time is pretty clear.

Tensejim said:
In the meantime, for those of you who have been at this longer than me, would it help if I dropped from $2.99 to .99?
If you don't have a good way to promote that price drop, then, no, it won't help much. If you do have a way to promote it, then, yes, you might get a short burst of sales at 99c. In some cases, that might be enough to keep your book visible and keep it selling. In most cases, it won't be and you'll need to keep promoting it.

Note I have nothing against the 99c price point. In fact, our box set mentioned above is at 99c. It did not get into the Top 100 by itself, however. The right marketing at the right time in the right ways got it there, and Amazon's internal recommendation engine is helping to keep it there. Just setting the price from $9.95 to 99c by itself would not have been enough to see a lot of movement in the ranks.
 

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Reporting slow-downs at time when servers are busy with other things makes sense but considering that all of the pop lists depend on sales and rankings, seems to be really counter productive.

Even a six-hour stall can cause ranks to plummet and then it takes time to make up that lost ground.
I seem to experience this every day just because people decide to go to bed (how dare they!) or work or something. I have sales in the evening, then apparently a few more in the early morning (?) then a few rare ones during the day. The long night and daytime gaps set my ranking back by several thousand.

So it would seem odd that Amazon would allow reporting to stall when pop lists depend on them, would it not?
 

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Quiss said:
Reporting slow-downs at time when servers are busy with other things makes sense but considering that all of the pop lists depend on sales and rankings, seems to be really counter productive.

Even a six-hour stall can cause ranks to plummet and then it takes time to make up that lost ground.
I seem to experience this every day just because people decide to go to bed (how dare they!) or work or something. I have sales in the evening, then apparently a few more in the early morning (?) then a few rare ones during the day. The long night and daytime gaps set my ranking back by several thousand.

So it would seem odd that Amazon would allow reporting to stall when pop lists depend on them, would it not?
I have a feeling they categorize different books to different updating patterns. Mine is basically only updating during non-working hours right now -- sales begin showing up in the evening and continue through the night into the wee hours of the morning, then stop. It's too consistent to reflect people's actual buying habits ... not every single person buying the book can be a night owl! Since the pop lists use a 30-day average, this sort of updating pattern isn't going to have an impact on them. The best-seller lists would be a different story. I bet books that are consistently on best-seller lists get put into a category of more frequent updating, but not having a best-seller, I wouldn't know for sure!

ETA: Tensejim, every category has a "new releases" list for books published in the last 30 days. Some categories also have a last-60-days list. Customers do seem to browse these lists for the latest books. When you first publish, you get initial sales off those lists, but if you're in a big category, new books quickly push you down, and after a month or two, your book doesn't qualify for these lists any longer. Since Gifted was published 12/9, it would've gotten pretty far down the 30-day list and then fallen off entirely three days ago. That might account for the marked slow-down you've noted. At this point, customers are only finding your book through its also-boughts.
 

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It's not just you, Chris and Becca. All of our books are generally in that reporting pattern too, even for books that wind up with 800-900 sales in a 24-hour period. We may be at 20% of those sales at 5pm CT and at 50% by 9pm. Catch-ups are usually complete by 6am CT, and I do daily captures at around 9am CT to ensure day-over-day reports are as consistent as possible.

Poplists also 1) crunch once or twice a day, if that, depending on seasonal buying volumes (they were skipping crunches a lot during the heavy pre-Christmas buying time) and 2) generally lag by 2 days anyway, and can lag by as much as 4 days during busy times.

Amazon, I think, only cares about churn there. They don't care whose books move when on the lists so much as they care that books in general are moving. Same with the bestseller lists.

I also believe Amazon is capturing the sales data and using it to focus on bestseller lists, movers & shakers lists, etc - i.e., the customer experience - ahead of ensuring our reports are populated. So Amazon has the numbers to work with before we do. We're simply last to be told. :p
 

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I'll chime in, too.  One of my titles sells pretty steadily, averaging the same number of copies per day for the past few months.  I've been surprised to see that the past few days it's down by about four or five copies.

So you're not alone, but maybe there are some things you can do to help your book sell better.  I'm not a huge advocate of dropping the price to $.99 on novels, but you could give it a shot and see what happens.  Have you tried things like interacting with readers on Goodreads (*as* a reader, not as a writer...that is, don't flog your book; just go and have a good time discussing books with others)?  Whenever my sales dip down a bit I find that some increased exposure to other readers tends to bring them back up again.
 

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I was doing really well, I had 11 sales in 9 days over my various distribution channels (good for me). All of a sudden - nothing.

Maybe people have used up their gift cards already.

Hopefully it will pick up. I reduced my price this month, too. Had some high hopes of a mad rush.  :D
 

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Phoenix Sullivan said:
It's not just you, Chris and Becca. All of our books are generally in that reporting pattern too, even for books that wind up with 800-900 sales in a 24-hour period. We may be at 20% of those sales at 5pm CT and at 50% by 9pm. Catch-ups are usually complete by 6am CT, and I do daily captures at around 9am CT to ensure day-over-day reports are as consistent as possible.

Poplists also 1) crunch once or twice a day, if that, depending on seasonal buying volumes (they were skipping crunches a lot during the heavy pre-Christmas buying time) and 2) generally lag by 2 days anyway, and can lag by as much as 4 days during busy times.

Amazon, I think, only cares about churn there. They don't care whose books move when on the lists so much as they care that books in general are moving. Same with the bestseller lists.

I also believe Amazon is capturing the sales data and using it to focus on bestseller lists, movers & shakers lists, etc - i.e., the customer experience - ahead of ensuring our reports are populated. So Amazon has the numbers to work with before we do. We're simply last to be told. :p
That's interesting, Phoenix. I wonder if the night-heavy sales updating is relatively new. I didn't notice the pattern until pretty recently.

During the free run I finished about a week ago, I noticed that figures from the European stores did not update overnight. By about 9 p.m. U.S. ET very night, those numbers froze solid and didn't budge until early morning. Seems like they're on a different schedule for reporting that data.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow, thank you all so much for tagging in here. I am not really too worried about it, just trying to understand the whole process. The point made about the thirty first days made a lot of sense, I had not considered that. I need to promote my book more somehow, I will look into goodreads some more. I have an account set up with them and will pursue it further. I am also about to continue with my second book as GIFTED will be a trilogy. As of now, between goodreads and the Amazon sites, my rating is 3.5 stars. Not bad considering it is my first book and I have so much to learn. I found it interesting that one person rated it at 2 stars because I kept it too clean hehe. But I digress so back on track here.

Bottom line is that I don't expect high sales, heavens, first book, learning to promote, 2 million competitors, it is a challenge and I still have so much to learn. But it is fun, better than any game I think. Writing is a great hobby, and learning all the ins and outs of the business is fascinating!!

Oh, I decided not to change my price, I agree that it would not do any good as I am sure it is not a price issue. I think you are right, my book is buried right now and I will just have to do some extra promoting to get it back up. I bet I could raise it and promote and have the same results as I would if I lowered it.

Thanks again  = )
 

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David Scroggins said:
Fear not. One of my books has been ranking in the mid 6000s on Amazon.co.uk for at least a month, and sales just died on it a few days ago. This always happens. Things will pick back up soon.
Gah, I just got dumped below 20k. Today has been dismal.
I do see people talking about things picking back up but HOW, precisely, would you get your rank back (without promo) if you've slipped that far off the radar?
 

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Quiss said:
Gah, I just got dumped below 20k. Today has been dismal.
I do see people talking about things picking back up but HOW, precisely, would you get your rank back (without promo) if you've slipped that far off the radar?
Yikes. I feel your pain. It's not a good pain at all. :(

My book has slipped pretty far off the radar several times since I published it in October. There were a few times that it actually got dumped into the 70k range on Amazon.co.uk, which means that it was dead in the water. Each time it picked back up until it hit the 6k area and stayed there. It stopped selling again a few days ago and fell below 30k. I managed to sell a few copies today and it hit 15k again and is now charting. I'm hoping that trend continues.

Pretty much, that particular book always seems to pick back up on its own again. As for my David Scroggins books (Trapped and Winter's Plague), they're freaking history now. Trapped just fell below 100k and Winter's Plague is well below that. Looks like I need to write more novels.
 
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I've actually had the best sales ever this past week.

Granted that's not saying much as I've only sold just under 20 total (such noob) during/following a Select promo.
 
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