Since then, I’ve sold many more. A few free days during the first part of the year garnered enough reviews for the promo sites to feature me, a key in selling. The biggest free promo site then and now is EReader News Today. In July, 2012, they featured Murder Déjà Vu, and that’s when everything changed. The book totaled 37,000 downloads and sold, with borrows, 1800 units. Mind Games got a bump because the first chapter is at the end of MDV.
In August, Hooked earned the reviews for an ENT feature. Results: 44,200 downloads, and it sold, are you ready, 3500 books/borrows. Murder Déjà vu continued selling with over 1100 copies sold. It was the best month ever. I mentally paid off debts and redesigned my kitchen.
But, nothing stays the same.
Everyone was catching on to the KDPS phenomenon. Not only were more free promo sites popping up, there were more free books.
September: 20,000 downloads of InSight, 790 sales.
I joined BookBub at the end of July, 2012, to receive announcements of their free thrillers and mysteries. New and looking for business, they cleverly targeted their audience. In, mid-October, selected my book Hooked for a free feature. Well, free is always good, right? Chalk up 37,500 downloads and 600 sales. BookBub was expensive to buy, so I passed. I had done as well with ENT. November, Mind Games about 16,000 downloads, 500 sales, but newly published Goddess of the Moon, the sequel, sold just as many.
Downloads and sales were decent until mid-June, 2013, when I gave in and bought my first BookBub ad for Murder Déjà vu. Mystery rate: $240. Not cheap. ENT also featured it, and the book racked up 56,500 downloads and 650 sales over a six-week period. The first chapter in the back of MDV, the newly published Threads, the only book NOT on KDPS, got a nice bounce too.
July saw Goddess of the Moon as a BookBub ad and ENT feature. It went from 44 sold to 725 by the end of August. Mind Games, the first in the series got a bounce, as did Murder Déjà Vu, the chapter at the end of Goddess. I bought a BookBub ad for InSight to run August 21st. This was not as successful. Though I had 48,700 downloads, by September 16th, I sold just under 300 copies.
There are many reasons for the trend downward: overexposure of my books, a market glutted with free books, big publishers discounting their authors’ older books, and readers who’ve stopped buying. Why should they pay money when with a little patience good books are free for the picking? With the exception of the UK, Canada, and Germany, foreign sales have almost stopped. Amazon’s expansion to other countries show free downloads not sales. It will be interesting to see how Hooked fares with BookBub, running now.
This may not be everyone’s experience, but it’s mine. It was great while it lasted, but because of these changes, I’ve made long-range plans for my books. I will leave that for another blog post.
Polly Iyer is the author of six novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and two books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games and Goddess of the Moon. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.