Last year, my co-writer Louise appeared in the Evening Standard which, for non-British readers, is a free daily newspaper that is distributed across London. Pretty much every commuter reads it – on my journey home yesterday, around 7 out of 10 of the people in my train carriage were leafing through it. I expected the story to bring a huge sales boost to our books.
So did it? Well, let’s see. By mid-afternoon yesterday Catch Your Death had slipped to #30 on Amazon.co.uk and Killing Cupid was #36. Over the last week or so we’ve been steadily selling around 200 copies a day of each (when we were #1 and #2 we were selling 1000 and 600 on average).
Because of the Standard story, we sold 300 copies of Catch yesterday and 250 of Cupid, sending them up to positions 21 and 25 respectively. Agonisingly close to the Top 20. That’s a smaller boost than I expected, and I think it’s because it’s hard to sell online products through physical media. Those commuters would have had to remember either our names or the names of the books between their train journey and getting home, unless they happened to be carrying a 3G Kindle or had Amazon set up on their smartphone. Also, the people reading papers on the train were those who weren’t reading books or Kindles. Not our market! Other appearances we’ve made in printed newspapers and magazines have had even less effect on sales.
So what does work? Well, undoubtedly the best promotion is to appear on TV – which isn’t easy to achieve! In mid-June, Louise appeared on BBC Breakfast at about 7am, as part of the business section, talking about Kindle publishing. It was a very short interview, and she only managed to get the names of the books in once. But because of that we sold 500 books in an HOUR. Later that same day, the two of us appeared on Sky News which has a much smaller audience, but they gave the books far better exposure, with the cover of Catch Your Death filling the screen for a good few seconds. That brought a smaller boost than the BBC appearance. Then Louise was on Radio 2, the UK’s most popular radio station. That day we sold 1800 copies of Catch Your Death in total, sending it back to No.1 (it had slipped to No.2 the previous day).
When we announced the deal with HarperCollins, we got loads of attention from the ‘trade’ press, tons of mentions on writers’ blogs, Kindleboards, Twitter, lots of traffic to this blog… And the books actually went down in the chart! That’s because the story was being read by other writers, and people who work in the book trade, not readers. We hope that when the paperbacks come out, those booksellers and other professionals will remember us, but as a consumer marketing effort, it didn’t work at all.
So, apart from appearing on mainstream TV (like I said, very hard to achieve), it’s quite hard to boost sales with media promotion. As I’ve thought all along, by far the best promotion is on Amazon itself. It’s all about getting onto those ‘also bought’ bars, getting in front of the noses of people who are on Amazon, ready to buy or download a sample.
How you achieve that is a story for another day…
Category: Kindle publishing
About the Author (Author Profile)Mark Edwards is the co-author of Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid, which hit No.1 and 2 on Amazon when self-published. They were subsequently published by HarperCollins. He is keeping a toe in the self-publishing waters with his scary short story, Kissing Games, available on Amazon now. Mark offers consultation and book description services through IndieIQ, along with lots of free advice for authors. The mission of IndieIQ is to help writers find readers.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Bought A Catch The Day | August 7, 2011