One year ago I self-published my book while trying to curtail any unrealistic expectations by telling myself over and over that my sales would at best be modest. I was not to be disappointed. My book started slow and then went slower and finally dipped into the primordial ooze (the long tail also known as low-sales limbo) with hundreds of thousands of other books. But along came the KDP Select Program that gives authors the ability to give their books away for free. So I enrolled and did my first free promotion with a smile. I gave away a paltry 147 copies of my book in January, which did not gather me a single sale: utter and complete disaster.
I fought my depression over my pathetic numbers (which totaled 25 sales over 5 months) and fixed problems with my book, my author image, and my marketing approach. My second KDP promotion in April was a success as I gave away more than 19,000 free copies of my book. Even though The Sun Zebra reached #9 in the Free Kindle Store and garnered me 240 sales and 54 borrows, but it still did not gain a lot of staying power. A third promotion in July was a bust that awakened me to the realities of the effect of seasonality on free book giveaways plus Amazon also changed the algorithms they use in weighing the sales equivalent of a free book download. My fourth promotion just finished last Sunday November 18 and soon I will know whether that went well or not. Either way I will likely learn some more!
All in all for the past year I have ended up with 303 sales and 58 borrows. If you take into account the dollar amount of each borrow compared to the percentage of royalties I earn from the sale of each copy of my book, the number of sales plus “sale equivalents” comes to about about 514. Clearly the Amazon Prime program has been a great asset for me. As I expected my numbers have been modest, but the important thing is that The Sun Zebra didn't cost me anything to publish and the money that I have left over from paying for promotions will be enough to pay for my next book, which will hopefully be out in the first few months of next year.
I want to thank all the extraordinary people who helped me in this self-publishing project with their constructive criticism, editing, and opinions, or by writing reviews or helping me with promotion. You are all wonderful, take care, and keep on reading and writing!
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