Jan 082012

Sorry folks, this last week was a bit different.  We had some family business to take care of and that threw off the schedule a little.

But while it was a short week, it was still pretty eventful with regards to HPM.  You see, some very knowledgeable people convinced me to join Amazon Select and make my book free for a day as a method of gaining some exposure.  So on Tuesday (January 3), I made HPM a free download for twenty-four hours.  Before the beginning of this big experiment, I had sold just under ninety units in just under three weeks.  On January third the experiment began, and I watched as the “net units sold” report climbed steadily throughout the day.  It climbed spectacularly, and I will admit that I watched those numbers increase with no small amount of trepidation.  After all, each one of those numbers represented a person who was downloading for free the very book I was trying to sell.  Every time I saw the numbers increase, I was torn between the knowledge that HPM was gaining an enormous amount of exposure, and the thought that each increase also represented a lost sale.  By the time the day ended, my “net units sold” was sitting at 11,300.

Before going free – less than ninety… after going free – 11,300!!!  :eek:

But the real magic started after the book was no longer free.  Sales that had before been building up to about ten per day, were suddenly more than a hundred per day.  Today is January 8 – the fifth day of “sales” after experimenting with the “give it away for a day” option.  Starting from the base line of 11,300, I find today that my “net units sold” column now shows 11,968.  That means HPM has sold 668 units in five days!  :eek:

In addition to that, HPM has been in Amazon’s top 1000 of all “Paid in Kindle Store” books every day since going free, and was actually in the top 100 for two days.  It is currently ranked at #720 “Paid in Kindle Store”, and is #22 in “Action & Adventure” Kindle books, and #24 for the same category in Amazon Print books!

Now, in all honesty, I’m not entirely sure what (if anything) all that means with regards to the success or failure of this book.  I listen to a few writing podcasters, and I understand that a lot of these things vary according to genre, BISAC category, and often just pure dumb luck.  I also know that the numbers are sure to start dropping again soon.  But still I can’t help but get a little excited.  :)

I listen to folks like Nathan Lowell, and the Dead Robots’ Society, and none of them really seem to know either.  Any of you who have followed me up to this point (all two or three of you) know I am a huge Nathan Lowell fan.  Nearly every morning, I listen to one or two episodes of his “Talking on my Morning Walk” podcasts wherein he occasionally mentions some of his numbers.  But as far as I can tell, even Nathan is a bit confused as to how the Amazon algorithm relates ranking to sales.  Admittedly, I’m still about two months behind on his TOMMW casts, and typically only get a chance to listen to maybe two per day, so hopefully there will be more information as I get closer to catching up.

But in the meantime, I’m in a weird state of mind.  On the one hand, I’m stoked at this apparent initial success on my first novel.  On the other, I keep waiting for someone to come along and kick over my sand castle.  I guess it’s just that “too good to be true” feeling.

Ah well, it’s late and I need to get ready to get to bed.  For now, keep safe everyone.  I’ll talk to you later.  Time for my beauty rest. :yawn:

 Posted by at 11:10 pm

  6 Responses to “Experimenting with Half Past Midnight on Amazon Select”

  1. I was one of those free for Kindle people, I read your book in a day and then immediately started telling all my friends they should buy it and read it. I will happily buy your next book in this series, and probably will try other things by you as well. A lot of my friends read S.M. Stirling, particularly his Nantucket/Emberverse series’ and I think they will find your story a welcome addition to that world.

    • Wow. Thanks Lori. I truly appreciate it.

      As I said in my post, this is all new to me – a huge experiment – and I still feel like a little lost lamb at times.

      ….um, okay. Maybe not so little (but that’s another issue altogether).

      I am currently working on a novella designed to be a companion piece to HPM. It is called “The Road to Rejas” and will be the story of one of the minor characters (Mark Roesch) and how he came to arrive in the labor pool in Rejas. My only problem is that I am currently over 13k words, and the story keeps growing. At this rate, it may turn into another novel, and that isn’t what I currently have scheduled.

      Of course, the best laid plans….

      Thanks again for reading, and even more for commenting. I often feel as if I’m writing to myself here. It’s good to hear from someone every once in a while. :)

      Stay safe.

  2. Like Lori, I was one of the blessed free Kindle buyers. I just finished the book and immediately went to Amazon to purchase any and all others you had written. To my sorrow I found that this is your first novel.

    Please let us all know when the next book, novella or any of your writings are available. Your praises are already on my facebook page. My friends and family are all readers. Be prepared for another group of sales.

    Kudos. Well done.

    • Thanks, Tiffanye. I have to say, I’m still getting used to the idea that people actually seem to like my story. It’s the emails and comments from people like you that give me the incentive to work harder on my writing.

      Thanks so much for your kind words.


  3. […] numbers from when I put HPM up for free.  In that post, I explored what happened during “The Great Experiment” from the perspective of using Amazon’s KDP Select “free” marketing tool.  […]

  4. […] in other international venues.  It was nothing like what happened with HPM when I conducted “the great experiment” last year, but it was definitely better than I had been doing.  On top of that, my Kindle […]

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