Over the last few days I have been watching and participating in a 3-day Twitter campaign for "Acts of God" and can now start to assess how effective it has been. I don't mind sharing this, since it may well be of interest to other writers and publishers. We are all in this together, guys..........
For the record, "Acts of God" was published just a few days ago, on 5th November, and it had its official launch party (with very nice wine and nibbles) on 9th November. The cover price of the paperback version is £7.99, and Amazon sells it for £5.75, having squeezed a vast discount of 60% out of me, the publisher. (Actually I have no option other than to submit. There is no choice in the matter.) Those are modest and fairly standard prices for paperback fiction books
The Kindle version sells on Amazon UK for £3.19 and probably $4.99 in the USA. Here the competition is much hotter, since on any one day there are literally thousands of free Kindle books available for download, and thousands more at prices well below mine. The principle seems to be to sell as many as possible at as low a price as possible -- which of course makes it very difficult for the vast majority of competent writers to make any money at all, given that they get just 70% of the selling price in royalties. (Some writers of course sell millions of copies of their Kindle downloaded books, so even at giveaway prices, they do very well in terms of income......)
I decided to try a three-day Twitter campaign to coincide with the launch of the book, with Twitter bombardments on 5th, 7th and 9th November. For this, I paid just over £50 to TweetYourBooks.com, who promised to send out 70 tweets per day via six accounts, reaching (potentially) over 190,000 "select and loyal followers". In addition, they promised to check my own tweets as well, and to re-tweet them; and promised that many of their followers would do the same. I have every reason to accept that they delivered as promised, for I saw a phenomenal increase in twitter activity which found its way back to me. TweetYourBooks staff were helpful and efficient, and courteously dealt with my enquiries. So was my £50 well spent?
At first glance, it doesn't look like it. I have not received a single PayPal order for the paperback edition over the 5 days of the campaign, and as far as Kindle orders are concerned, there were 3 on 5th Nov, 1 on 7th Nov and 1 on 9th Nov. A grand total of five sales! That's not going to turn me into a Kindle millionnaire......... (There may be a few more sales to be recorded; I suspect that in some cases Amazon takes the money from a purchaser before recording it on the dashboard that sellers are able to access. In some cases several days may pass before the transaction is recorded -- a nice way for Amazon (poor things!) to make even more profits.)
The main route through to paperback purchases was via my Weebly web site:
On the site I have a button that takes you straight to my shopping page, so it's about as easy to make a purchase as it gets (except for the Amazon web site where they now have one-click purchasing.) But my cover price is of course higher than Amazon's, so maybe some people will look at my site and then hop over to Amazon to make a purchase. We shall see what happens....
The Weebly records of visits to my site are interesting. Take a look at these two graphs.