I’ve Tweeted with James for a long time… always shooting shots at each about life and writing. He’s released a new book, an epic fantasy… and it just so happens, I was able to bug him until he talked about it.
More than that, he’s going to talk about a sale he recently had on his book. Marketing is a tricky thing in this climate and as an author who is in control of every aspect of their book, the independent author finds themselves with thousands of possibilities. And some marketing doesn’t see results until way down the road. A customer may see your deal now and not act… but a two months from now may see your book again and say “Hey, I remember that name…”
So without more rambling… here’s James:
Tell me about your book.
Tarranau is epic fantasy, and follows the journey of the titular MC as he walks, sails, rides and fights his way across the continent of Bedwar Barthu Dirio. Along the way, he befriends mages, kills bandits, meets a girl, and walks in the world of the dead. And just when he thinks he can settle down, he has to make his way across an impassable mountain range with a spiritwalking mage for company.
This book is the first release of a setting I’ve been working on for the last 8 years, and the first of a trilogy. It’s about 145k words long, and split into only 7 chapters. Which probably says I’m a bit odd as an author.
The book was published by Deepwood Publishing and went on sale July 22nd for print and July 26th for electronic formats. Print is priced at $14.99, while electronic is $4.99.
Tell me about your sale.
The sale lasted from Friday morning (July 29) to Sunday night (July 31), and took place only on the Smashwords website, which was due to the ability to quickly set up and disburse a coupon as a means of testing the water.
Price on an ebook was dropped from $4.99 to $2.99 with the coupon, and there was a bonus prize for one lucky purchaser – if they commented on L.M. Stull’s blog with the purchase info, they would be entered to win an autographed print copy.
What results did you receive?
During the timeframe of the sale, there were 8 sales on Smashwords (2 full price), 1 Kindle (full), and 2 B&N (full). I’m not sure if the Kindle or one of the B&N purchases was related to the sale advertising, but the rest were, and I’ll count them as being driven by the marketing being done. That gives an average of 4 sales a day over the course of the weekend.
Were they the results you hoped for?
Pretty much. I went into the weekend expecting to get 10 sales out of it, and that’s almost exactly what happened. Obviously, I would have preferred more, but I think every author wants that. For someone with no reviews and a fairly high initial price, I think I did well.
How did you promote your sale?
The sale started Friday morning, with the posting of my FridayFlash stories on The Four Part Land and Splintered Lands, which included a link to the Smashwords copy of my book, as well as the coupon code. In addition to that, there were postings on Facebook, Google+, and plenty of tweets. Also, friends echoed the message, with about five or six shares on G+, and about the same number on FB.
I would be surprised if the reach went beyond those three social media websites.
If there was anything you could do different, what would it be?
For a sale of this kind? Probably nothing. It’s a basic, quick, sale that can be conducted with minimal effort over a weekend and drives up sales figures slightly. The next time around, I’ll try during the week, and see whether there are more people interested.
Do you plan on having future offers/sales/deals?
Many plans. The next one will kick off this Wednesday, with an Amazon gift card giveaway. I’ve already got another one lined up after that, and I’m sure I’ll come up with more as time goes on. I’ll probably always have something going on as a way to generate interest, although with a week or two break in between each one.
If yes, what will they be? (price off? % off? freebies? Giveaways?)
I will, probably, occasionally throw in a cheap/free coupon tweet now and then to see what happens, but the next big one I’ve got planned is giving away a $100 Amazon gift card for best book blurb. How it works is this – You (the reader) buys a copy of Tarranau, reads it, then writes a blurb for the back of the book. I’ll hold a vote to see which one people like the most, and that reader wins the gift card.
What’s your price point?
I mentioned it earlier, but it’s $14.99 print and $4.99 ebook.
How did you choose your price point? Why?
Partly because of the length of the work (epic fantasy is generally the most expensive on a per-book basis, due to size), but also partly because of return (Warning, maths ahead). A $0.99 ebook gets a royalty rate of 35% on Amazon, for a return of $0.35, while a $4.99 ebook returns $3.49 at 70% royalties. That means I need to sell 1/10th the amount of books for the same value to me. It also more or less lines up with the print return ($3.56), meaning that selling either one is equal in return.
Now, that price point certainly cuts down on impulse buys, but I think it’ll be kept as the general list price of the book for the foreseeable future.
My final thoughts… he got business, right? He got attention, right? He got ReTweets and Mentions, right?
All in all, I’d call the sale successful. Now the key, in my opinion, is for James to get back to the keyboard and get the second book ready!
Oh, by the way, if you’re holding a Kindle or have a Kindle ready device… or even if you like paperback books, why not grab a copy of his book? CLICK HERE! CLICK HERE!
Finally, if you’re ready for his next contest, James has something new brewing… something like a chance to win $100 Amazon Giftcard… Don’t miss out!