Running Northwest…The super secret sales numbers of an Indie writer

Monday and Tuesday were my two last free giveaway days for Running Northwest using amazons KDP select. I was not sure what to expect this time since the last time I did it, which only lasted one day, did not go well at all. This time I planned a little better, got my book placed on a few FB pages that list books on amazon that are free. I tweeted my ass off trying not to be an annoying dick and did multiple posts on my books FB page, which is BooksbyMichaelMelville.  I know these posts annoyed many people and I know many people I am friends with on FB showed little to know interest, which sucks, but it is the way it is.  I do appreciate however the people who showed me the love and “pimped” Running Northwest for me.

After two days, the giveaway is done now and I can get somewhat of a grasp on the numbers and results. You may wonder, “Why the fuck would any sane person give their book away for free”. Well, as an Indie writer with little exposure and little money for advertising and promotions. New writers like myself do it in the hopes that people will download the free eBook, write a review, then tell their friends about it and if they really like it buy it outright. This is ultimately a business and even in today’s fast-paced internet world, word of mouth advertising is still very important.

Yea it would have been nice to sell those FREE copies at 2.99/3.99 a pop but most people for one reason or another will not spend money on an eBook if the author is not well known to them and has not written much. Which is something I do not get since one eBook in this price range(and there is many) is about the same price wise as an energy drink and less than a medium latte from a coffee shop. Maybe they would if I could figure out a more consistent and affordable way to get Running Northwest OUT THERE so people know about it. Therefore, in theory by me giving it away free more people will find out about my novel, more people will talk about my novel and eventually…hopefully…more people will buy my novel and it cost me little to nothing out of my pocket since that is what I have to work with.

One plus to doing this is overseas sales, especially in Europe.  Running Northwest in the eBook version is available in the USA (India), UK, Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. I am not sure why India is included with USA for sales and I am not sure why Canada does not have eBooks listed on their Amazon site, if anyone knows I would be interested to find out.

Anyways back to overseas stuff. Often with traditional published print books they are released in either the USA first then Europe and everywhere else or vice versa. I have read that some authors wait years for their books in print format to be sold in other countries outside the country the book was originally published in. With eBooks, we do not have to wait so long…not long at all. I wish I knew a better way to market Running Northwest overseas, I feel as if I got something going on there since I seem to do pretty well especially in Europe especially the UK.  As of now, it would not be much of stretch to say Running Northwest is more popular in the United Kingdom than it is in the USA after this last giveaway and combining that with other FREE days and overall sales since I published it.

Here are some numbers, where Running Northwest ranked and things of that nature I’ll start with the USA.

In the USA RNW reached #1 in the sub category of Love & Romance and #26 in Contemporary Fiction. I was very happy with both now keep in mind that these rankings were based on FREE books NOT paid sales. I am still confused by the sub genera thing when it comes to my ranking.  Running Northwest also reached #109 in the FREE Kindle store which is not the same as the previous mentioned categories this is literally among sometimes thousands of other books on a particular day. I was impressed by this but I would have really like to break that top 100 though….dammit.

So far post giveaway sales I have only had one paid sale(last I checked) for Running Northwest in the USA….which is a bummer. Post giveaway numbers for Running Northwest went way down on the sales list then up, is currently at #155,837 in paid rankings, and will go down again according to the history I am used to. In the USA I gave, away 2,429 units, again it would have been cool if those were paid sales (even for a total of 6 months) but I am happy with it, that is 2,429 individual pieces of adverting and hopeful reviews for my book.

In the UK, I got results that were not expected with the giveaway and even after. During the 2 FREE days Running Northwest hit #16 in the free kindle store (which personally I was really impressed with and thankful about). It also hit #1 in relationships subcategory and #1 in parenting & Family subcategory. In addition, gave away 2,156 units (copies) of Running Northwest. There were some price matching numbers but I am not very sure what they mean.

Over all with the UK, I was really quite happy with the numbers and rankings for the free days. However post giveaway is where it gets interesting. I managed to get 14 paid sales so far after the giveaway ended over the last 2 days (Wednesday and Thursday). Which does not sound like a lot but it really is when you look at eBook sales numbers and such for new writers in my league and category. It is not great but it is decent in my eyes and my book is legitimately ranked higher than some more established authors are…granted it is just for the time being and I know that will change.  I am not meaning to toot my own horn but I will for now while I have the chance.

Ranking wise after the giveaway ended Tuesday, last I looked (6 hours before writing this blog) Running Northwest was:

#4,108 in paid Kindle sales.

#16 in nonfiction-sub category Relationships

#29 in Love and Romance

#59 in parenting and families.

Now again the sub-genre business confuses me in a way and I am not sure exactly why Running Northwest is falling under non-fiction in anything since it is fiction and I have it listed as fiction.  The differences in the number fall off in rankings and sales between the USA and the United Kingdom is interesting. I am curious to know why Running Northwest ranked better in the UK and is as of now selling better than it has in the USA and why people in the UK are more inclined to buy it when it is not free than those in the USA. I could chalk it off to the presidential elections but I am not sure that had anything to do with it. In the other countries listed earlier in the blog, either the numbers were low or non-existent really, so I am not going to talk about them.

This blog was not met to gloat by any means but as a new, self-published author, I felt I should share my experience with others who are in the same boat. I myself have spent hours scouring the internet looking for research when it comes to marketing RNW and future books, looking for the best ways to do things….there is a lot of bullshit out there. Therefore, I thought I would just share my experience with this one giveaway for others who are looking for advice also. I only have a little idea of what I did right this time versus what I did wrong the last few times I had a free day or two. I do want to thank the folks over at FreeDigitalReads and Pixel of Ink for listing my book on their FB page on Monday I am sure they had a lot to do with the numbers being higher. Overall I was happy this time around and still am happy, and it gives me a little hope for my novel when my hope was starting to dwindle and frustration was getting to me.

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