Self-publishing update — December promotion and sales

December Promotional Activities

My promotional activities, like other responsibilities in my life, went the way of the abandoned during December as I recovered from laparoscopic removal of my gallbladder, and prepared for Christmas and overnight visits from our children for the week of Christmas. Fortunately I had signed up for the Indie Book Blast that carried me through the month.

A book review by Stephanie Cowart on the blog Your Need to Read came through on December 20th. The post did not receive many comments, so I don’t know how many people read that blog or saw that particular post. But it got my book title out on the web with a few more links back and forth. That always helps with the search engines.

Featured Promotional Activity – Indie Book Blast

I still have mixed feelings about the Indie Book Blast. I paid $50 to participate at a slight upgrade (Minimum cost was $25. The upgrade supposedly got me better publicity in some way. I really had no way to follow it.) When the Book Blast kicked off, I got barraged by emails from other participating authors and I received a rudimentary education in Kindle book rankings.

Everybody participating wanted everybody else to go to their book page on Kindle and click the “Like” button, and then also click on the “tags” at the bottom of the page. The tags are book descriptors that authors (and readers) can apply to the books. These help the search engines find your book. It was a crazy few days trying to keep up with all that. At first I tried to comply, but quickly got disillusioned. Many authors, more than you might imagine, are writing YA paranormal fiction, horror and other types of books I likely would never glance at twice on a book shelf. They’re just not my preferred genre. I felt like I was compromising my integrity by clicking “like” on these books, and that it was disingenuous to “tag” something I hadn’t read. Also, somehow people were blindly tagging my book and I ended up with a “christian fiction” tag and multiple “kindle” tags. The whole scramble to improve a book’s ratings artificially this way really rubbed me the wrong way. I stopped participating and just discarded the emails.

I did learn about the importance of having readers “like” and “tag” my book, however. And I looked at my Amazon best-seller ratings for the first time. Everybody was worried about their ranking. But I have to tell you, I’m not even in the ballpark, let alone the game. In fact I may not even be on the same continent.

I’m not worried about it. This morning, my print book ranks 1,083,088 and my Kindle rank is 159,693. Low numbers like being in the top 100 are good. Authors were keeping tabs on this statistic to evaluate if they were going up or down in the market. I’m going to stick with watching my book sales numbers. Maybe I just don’t have the killer instinct for this. It’s a jungle out here.

I did sign up for a Ning Community of the self-published authors. I really have no idea what that is, or how valuable it will be for me and I haven’t visited it yet. I’m hoping I may be able to pick up a few tips there.

But the Book Blast boosted my Kindle sales a bit, although not significantly. In the flurry of after-the-book-blast emails, I realized that many, if not most, participating authors were disenchanted with the sluggish sales numbers. So I wasn’t alone. I think that authors were buying other authors’ books (I will confess that I did pick up a few bargain books myself that looked particularly good). But this is not my idea of good marketing. I’m grateful for the books I sold. I just hope they’re read. My goal has always been about people reading the book. Meanwhile, I continue to hear that readers are sharing Dancing in Heaven with a mother, a daughter, or someone else. That warms my heart.

December Sales

My sales for December were up slightly from November’s total of 34. The print book sales are down again this month from 14 last month. As you can see, the boost came from Kindle sales where I only had 11 in November.

Bookseller Number sold
Createspace/Amazon(print) 10
Amazon Kindle 30
B&N Nook 0
Smashwords 1
Smashwords/Sony/B&N/Kobo/Amazon/Apple/Diesel not available
Handsold 1
December Total 42
November Total 34
October Total 33
Grand Total 109

I hit my first goal of selling 100 books.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me by buying and reading Dancing in Heaven.

“You can do or be whatever you want in your own life. Nothing can stop you, except your own fears. Don’t blame anyone else . . . you have the power to make the decision. Just do it.”
Nola Diamantopoulos, Greek-Australian creative workshop tutor