Self-Publishing Data: Free Promotion Results

For the past ten days I put my book up for free on as many retailers as I could in celebration of my new cover designed by Emma Wakeling:

the-black-swan-inheritance-final-cover

I really wanted to see if I could shift 100 copies, and thanks to everyone who helped publicise it, 120 copies were picked up!

What’s interesting about these results is when I compare them to Charlotte Cyprus’ results. Charlotte Cyprus is also a self-published author, but she is enrolled in KDP Select, and it definitely seems (just by comparing our two sets of data) that KDP Select does help new authors promote books. Having shifted 5x the number of copies as me, that data doesn’t lie!

Of course, her book could just be appealing to more people than mine. Our books have more differences than similarities, I think.

The other downside to being non-exclusive to Amazon is that Amazon doesn’t allow free ebooks on its site UNLESS you’re KDP Select, and then you have five days every month or something where you can elect to put your book up for free. So no free sales via Amazon for me.

Having said that, I’m still content to not be Amazon-exclusive. It’s just what I feel more comfortable about. I’m a little attached to Smashwords, because it is a bit of a ‘free-for-all’ environment, and I know if I want to push some boundaries with my stories, there will always be someone else on there who has gone further than me. That reassures me, in a weird sort of way.

I also like the reporting Smashwords does, and how it gathers data from the other major retailers under their premium service plan:

Smashwordsresults

The only downside is that Kobo doesn’t report it’s free book sales to smashwords, but I also have an account with Kobo so I can check those numbers (I only sold 5 books through Kobo).

I was surprised about Barnes and Noble. Being Australian, I was only vaguely aware of it, but I guess there are quite a few people out there with Nooks.

So I learnt some things with this experiment. As always, I am willing to provide a free ecopy of my book in exchange for an honest review. For now though, the price is going back up, and then some. Comparing the length of my book to other books of my length, my book was very cheap, but it wasn’t garnering any sales. Maybe $0.99 gave the impression a 75k word book wasn’t going to be any good? Regardless, I have decided to increase the price to be on par with other similar books, so The Black Swan Inheritance is now $2.99 at all major retailers…

Although with some retailers the price change is taking a while to kick in. Barnes and Noble, for instance, is still selling my book for free. Give it a day. *shrug*

At least now with the price increase I have other options when I decide to next put my book on sale. I can do half-price, drop it to 99cents, or go for free again.

As a footnote, a few other people have added my book to their TBR on goodreads, and I now have 10 ratings and 7 reviews on the site! Amazon has 7 reviews up (with some reviewers different to the goodreads’ reviewers), and 1 review on Barnes and Noble 🙂 All up, 10 different people have written reviews on my book across the different sites (and some blogs!)!

Sequel status: 67k words out of approx 80k. Downhill run!

So that’s been my experience of my first sale. I think I’ve waffled enough now.

MdD

 

Feedback Please! New Black Swan Inheritance Cover Design by Emma Wakeling

I introduced Emma Wakeling here in my previous post as my new cover designer, and now I’d like to ask you all for some feedback on the fruit of Emma’s labour:

Book Cover2

What’s your first impression? We welcome all sorts of criticism so don’t be shy to use the comments’ section below! Hell, even email me if you like: nogaku89@gmail.com

Book Cover2

I think it looks great in thumbnail form too 🙂

Emma reduced the moon a little after Jade from Scatterbooker pointed out that the title would look better with an entirely black background:

Before                                          After

Book Cover rough         Book Cover2

I miss the moon being as big as it was, but the title does ‘pop’ a lot more. What do you think?

Emma read the book and sketched some ideas after our first lot of brainstorming. I’ve including the sketches below to show the thought process behind creating the finished product.

FYI you can check out the rest of Emma’s art on Facebook and Deviant Art.

Sketches that lead to the Final Cover:

Anita’s Profile, with her black hair turning into a Swan:

Sketch_Anita

Emma decided to use soft features for Anita, which I really like. It reminds us how young she is, and her haunted expression says to me that she’s got something weighing on her mind, like she’s trying to psyche herself up up to do something. That’s my opinion anyway. What’s yours?

Black Swan, Head Bowing with the Moon

Sketch_Flighing Swan 1

I loved this image too so I asked Emma to combine this one with Anita’s profile. I think this makes the final cover look like the ‘thing’ that’s weighing on Anita’s mind is literally the inheritance of the Black Swan, with the image of the Swan dripping poison/blood into Anita’s mind. I know that’s not quite what the magic is about, but the inheritance has greatly affected Anita’s life, for better and worse. I love the trippiness of the final image and how Emma pulled off the combination of the two previous images 🙂

Other Sketches

Black Swan in Flight with Moon in Background

Sketch_Flighing Swan 2

Profile of Wicked, Snake-like Black Swan

Sketch_Swan 3

Book Cover2

Artist Showcase: Emma Wakeling

I contacted an old chum from my uni days and discovered that she has her own portfolio! So without further ado, here is Emma Wakeling, artist extraordinaire:

Emma Wakeling ProfileNo, she’s not a cat 😉 but she is very much a cat enthusiast, and a damned good artist. Above is a picture she drew of her Teddy.

I decided to ask her if she’d be interested in working on a new book cover for The Black Swan Inheritance, and also work on the book cover for the sequel further down the track (FYI, I’m currently 45k/~75k words into it). And Emma said yes! In fact, she is currently looking for any commission work to add her professional portfolio.

So I wanted to showcase my new book cover designer 🙂 Emma’s art is very versatile: she’s done mythological creatures, landscapes, abstracts, portraits and animals. You can check out all of Emma’s work at her Facebook page and her Deviant Art Profile. Here are the pieces that she’s completed that really wowed me:

The_Griffin_by_Disturb963

This is ‘The Griffin’ which has been very popular on Emma’s Deviant Art site. Someone even got it as a tattoo!

random_by_disturb963-d30pxtb

I love this piece! It’s called ‘Random’. Emma did this a while ago but the image could be perfectly applicable to the mind of the Black Swan Witch! ‘Cept the bird isn’t a swan 😦 How cool is it though?! Very, that’s how much. And Emma has let me use it as a banner! What will I use a banner for? It’s just up on my book page at the moment with some text, but I’ll think of other uses for it.

landscape_by_disturb963-d7exyxi

A beautiful example of what Emma can do with landscapes, lighting and texture. Just gorgeous.

my_brother_s_warframe__nyx__by_disturb963-d7gne2d

I just wanted to add this image in because I think it’s awesome. Emma says it’s her brother’s warframe Nix, which is a character from a Steam game that neither of us play. Cool but.

About Emma Wakeling:

Emma Wakeling is both a geoscientist and an artist. She has currently put aside her scientific self to develop her more creative side which includes studying graphic design. Emma started drawing at young age, she loved to draw demons, dragons and strange monsters. Nothing much has changed since those days, except that most of her drawings are now done on the computer. She is currently looking for any commission work to add her professional portfolio.

If you would like to contact Emma, you can send a message through either her Facebook or Deviant Art accounts.