Vantastic France has now been on Amazon for three months and it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me as a fledgling author. I am not going to pick figures out of a hat to make sales look better, just give you the true facts. This might encourage others to follow and publish their own novels on Amazon, because as you will see I am progressing in the right direction.
Early sales of a couple a day were mostly from friends, so was not really a true reflection on whether my novel would sell. I sold 32 copies in January so I was more than happy selling a book every day. I also realised that some of these were real sales, which was quite encouraging. I also had received a great review, so I decided to have this on the back of the paperback version which would compliment the Kindle version.
As I had decided to go with the KDP select programme I had 5 days in which I could promote my book as a free Kindle download. After reading the KDP forum I was in two minds about offering my book for free. Some people totally trashed the scheme, yet others found it an excellent marketing tool.
It seems that what works for some doesn’t work for others, but how can you tell unless you try and even then you do not know what really would have happened if you had not! So you have to go with your gut feelings on this one and in my mind the free down-loaders would probably have not paid to download it anyway. However the major benefit is that your novel will also feature in ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ which to me is the best place to have your book featured. You might also pick up a few reviews and clicks on the ‘like’ button.
My free days were at the start of the months and I have a total of 679 free downloads. I had seen talk of a lot higher figures, but have since read that free downloads are not achieving the same high figures as last year. I had a total real sales of 90 downloads, which was nearly three times the first moths sales, so obviously something was working in my favour.
At the start of March I decided to use up my last free days as I could see that daily sales were getting slightly less. This resulted in 614 free downloads and a total of 166 sales for the month, another good percentage rise in sales and now seeing my revenue for the month in hundreds and not tens was also very encouraging.
THE DREADED REVIEWS
I had collected a few nice reviews in the early months, but after my March free days I had a couple of scathing reviews by people who had not paid and even said that thank God they had not. To be honest I felt totally gutted for 48 hours and thought that was the end of my very short career as an author. However all was not lost as I watched my sales figures rising daily after the bad reviews, it was a great relief to see this continue for most of the month.
I have now accepted that it goes with the territory and something you have to learn to live with when you put your work forward to the general public. It also made me reflect on my thoughts while I had been creating the novel and adding a few stereotypical ex-pats. I had thought then that some of them could well take offence to the way I had portrayed them.
There was also a comment in the review about editing, which I am sure somewhere there is still the odd mistake in the book, but I did have a professional editor give it the once over, obviously not to the standard of the reviewer. All in all it seems that many people have enjoyed reading it despite it not quite being up to standard, which is all I could have asked for as a new very inexperienced author.
Bad reviews also make you reflect on your work and although you will not appeal to every reader, it makes you want to set higher standard for your work in other ways. To be fair I feel I am very lucky to have my work on the same cyber bookshelf as so many brilliant authors. I have a feeling I might not have been able to achieve that without Amazon and had to compete on book-store shelves.
Just while I am mentioning editing your work, I find it is far easier in a paperback version and before you go to print with Amazon Create Space you have the chance to receive a hard copy version. As you have no second chance to re-edit like you can do with the Kindle version, it is worth waiting to have the draft copy sent to you. This took just 3 days to arrive in France from the US, I did pay for the express delivery of course.
OTHERS WAYS OF PROMOTION
Despite having no clue as to how it all worked I have to say that now I have got my head around it that Twitter has been a fantastic way to promote my book and mingle in the cyberspace world of other authors. There are many great articles for new authors posted via Twitter and other advice from business professionals who can help with book promotions and social media advice. I have to give a little plug for my new Twitter friend Jo whom I have to say has helped me get started on Twitter by clicking on many of her helpful links.
I have also has some business cards printed with the cover of my novel on it and a few details. The flip side has my business website French Classified on it, so I killed two birds with one stone as they are both linked with France.
TO SUM UP
Do I regret it; NO WAY
Would I publish another novel; ITS A WORK IN PROGRESS
Am I in profit; YES
What’s my advice for a new author; FOLLOW YOUR OWN INSTINCTS