Or – pay no attention to the algorithms behind the curtain.
Or – We’re off to see the Wizard of Sales and Market Manipulation.
This will be a business post, so if you’re looking for craft advice, keep on lookin’.
This was an exciting week for me, as the Black Knight Chronicles Omnibus Edition was the Kindle Science Fiction & Fantasy Daily Deal for Monday, which gave the book an amazing sales boost, running it all the way up to #16 on the Kindle Top 100. The gild is a little bit off the lily now, and the book has fallen to #286 or so, but the ride was pretty amazing.
I’m not sure what kind of negotiations went on to get my book featured as the Daily Deal, but I know that my wonderful publisher was responsible for this happening. And honestly, I have another kidney, so it’s a small price to pay. I got notification a few days ahead of time, but I was flat on my back with bronchitis, so I was able to do very little in the way of promotion beforehand. I’m very lucky to have made friends with the kind folks over at Books on the Knob, so when Karen saw the book on the list, they sent the word out to their massive following, and that was awesome.
That got the book onto the very bottom of the Horror Top 100, which is pretty awesome for a book that’s been out for almost a year, and a book that is a collection of other books, the most recent of which is almost two years old at this point.
Then Amazon got involved. Amazon sends out a lot of emails to their customers every day. You probably get some with recommendations of books by some of us here at Magical Words. I know I get notified several times whenever Faith, David, Kalayna or James have a new book coming out. I even get emails recommending that I buy Bubba the Monster Hunter books!
So those algorithms? Not exactly perfect.
But damned effective. Along about mid-afternoon, Amazon emails started hitting email boxes, and the Amazon Kindle Twitter account tweeted about the special. Then sales took off like Apollo 11.
This proves to me that Amazon knows how to move a lot of books. And I mean a LOT of books. Through their targeted promotional efforts, a combination of pricing, brand awareness, and marketing, they took a writer who is still largely unknown within the genre and totally unknown to the general readership, and moved him (for a brief time) past Charlaine Harris on the best seller list.
What does this tell us? I think there are a few conclusions we can draw.
1) A book isn’t out of fashion just because it’s a couple of years old. There are so many readers out there, that if you’re not hanging around in Dan Brown or Stephen King territory, the odds of your book still being new to a lot of people are pretty good. I bet if someone decided to put Skinwalker out as the Kindle Daily Deal, it would see similar if not better results, and lead to a bounce throughout the series, and quite possibly a bounce for the Rogue Mage series as well.
2) Amazon knows how to sell books. They have a machine in place that can flip sales on like turning on a water faucet, and if your publisher doesn’t have access to that machine, you need to find one that does.
3) We can only do so much as writers. I had pimpage from folks on Facebook, big book bloggers helping me pimp the book, and a publisher helping promote on their blog, but when Amazon opened the floodgates, it was on. My part of that was writing a good book and finding a publisher who believes in it, and doesn’t stop promoting books after a 90-day window.
For me, it was an awesome ride, I hope that we did well enough that Amazon will consider taking one of my other books as a daily deal later, and I’m really thankful to everyone who retweeted and Facebooked about it. Now it’s time to get ready for ConCarolinas and hope and pray that the release party copies of The Big Bad arrive tomorrow!