After a rather disappointing three-day promo over the Thanksgiving weekend I was feeling a bit down. I had just released The Reaper Plague, my third novel in the Plague Wars series (see earlier posts) and done the promo to hopfully publicize this. I’d also been told that Amazon does some promotion of just-released books in the 30-90 day range, so I was hoping for some synergy. What did I get? More or less nada. Hardly a bump. Not even that many downloads compared to some I’ve done in the past, despite plastering the free book sites with notices.
But then an interesting thing happened. My wonderful wife Beth discovered Twitter. She’s already my marketer on a very steep learning curve – she just took it all on in earnest about a month ago, before that I was doing everything myself. Now she is building me a new website, she set up an author facebook page, and she is doing most of the communication with web sites for the free ads and so on. But I digress.
I suggested she try out Twitter since some indie authors swear by it. Couldn’t hurt, right? Well, I can’t give you definitive proof but anecdotally it has been a real boost. I went from selling around a handful of books a day to over ten. Depending on what period we are sampling, this represents a 2-4-fold increase in sales for me. I was selling in the 120-150 range per month; if sales keep up as they have in the past 9 days, I will sell over 300 this month, all due to her efforts. Wonderful news and a really good feeling for a new author.
The interesting question will be of course whether this is a fluke and will burn itself out, or it will plateau, or will it grow? One surefire way for it to fail is to stop writing, so that’s out! I’m over 45K with my fourth book, The Orion Plague, and it will be released on or before Christmas. Right now I’m averaging about a ratio of about 7/3/2 from the first book on, which means that roughly for every 7 book 1 sold, I sell 3 of book 2 and 2 of book 3. Again, this is data from a very small sample but seems in line with what others have said about series – not everyone goes on to finish a series but it’s always better if they next books are available now so the reader doesn’t have time to forget about it.
Once I get done with the Orion Plague, I will be working on my novella for the Planetary Invasion anthology with B.V. Larson and Vaughn Heppner. I’m stoked about that. For those of you who have ready the Plague Wars series, it will be set some years in the future, and will tell the story of the first invasion of an alien Meme world by humans as we counterattack. You will see some of the same characters, as the Eden Plague has provided long lifespans. I hope this will also provide a linkback effect so that those who read the novella first will be interested in the series.
Bottom line, my wife and I may remember the beginning of December 2012 as a turning point in this author thing, or maybe it will just be another hill before a valley. I’ll keep you posted.