Still no word from Kobo on my books. Or, they’ve sent two emails, but both are pretty much worthless for me right now. The first on day four said, “We are sorry your book is missing. Can you confirm that it’s still missing?” I could, and did, and I wrote back a reply to this effect. On day five I got back: “We are sorry your book is missing, and our techs will be investigating this error.”
Worst launch in a while, let me tell you.
Over on Twitter, I’m working on this plan of share and share alike. I got a list of tweets from other writers and indie publishers, and I hit those messages up frequently. In between I tweet links for other people as they come up in the stream, so I’m sharing maybe 30-40 tweets with other artists and authors. This isn’t counting all my gabbing with other people on Twitter. I’ll talk to anyone, provided they’ll give me the time of day. But so anyway, all this sharing of links means that when I post a link or three for my own stuff, I have really good odds that someone, somewhere is online who I’ve shared for. And they see a link and go “I’ve had a lot of retweets from her, so why not pass this along?”
And I got numbers from the blog bookstore telling me that there are people showing up to look at the books. This tells me that the hook I’m using in my tweets works to draw in traffic. But despite the nice cover, a blurb put together with help from a blurb doctor, and a visit with a paid editor, Roll the Bones has sold one copy in four days.
This is not the worst launch ever. That would be NINJAWORLD. Which didn’t sell anything for a few weeks. It’s sold 2 copies since then. Roll the Bones has sold 20 copies including preorders, while NINJAWORLD has sold 3. So, yeah, not the worst launch ever. But still pretty bad.
Yesterday, I got up and found two copies of Bran of Greenwood and the Scary Fairy Princess had sold while I slept. I hadn’t advertised it. It has no cover, and is a brain fart, a DnD porn with a morally ambiguous cast of tomb raiders. But okay, it sold two copies, so that was a good day.
So this morning I get up, and I’ve sold all three books in the Campaign trilogy on Amazon. And that’s three books, which is one more book than I sold yesterday. So, this is still a pretty good day.
But holy cheez whiz, people, do you know how frustrating it is to spend a whole month advertising that a book is coming out, and the two worst things happen in opening week? One, the book doesn’t even come out on one of the stores. Two, where the book is available, no one trusts me enough to buy it. I thought I’d have to worry about bad reviews, but first to get reviews there has to be somebody to read the book and complain “It stinks.”
I cannot complain that I’m not getting any sales, because I am getting sales. Just not on anything I advertise. This freaks me out, how the tweets that I send out that people RT for me, that does no good. I can get 500 people to look at the book in a few days. I could only convince 1 person out of 500 to buy the book. Of those 500, another five randomly bought some other book I sold. At another bookstore.
I know. This is the nature of the game. Getting a huge number of new impressions to try and find that one person willing to give my story a shot.
Which is why I want to talk about Wattpad. I decided that I had a few PG-13 titles that I could highlight over there, stuff that hadn’t ever sold so well, and stuff that I wanted to get out to more readers. Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies has had 1,660 readings at this point, so people showing up to start it are coming back for more. It’s had twice as many readings as my other novels on there, and twice as many votes and comments. It briefly made it to the top 100 in paranormal fiction.
That felt pretty good, but it also reminded me how no one was commenting on The Sole Survivors’ Club. Then a woman picked up the story and went through the first seven chapters in one night, leaving some lively comments on each chapter. She also voted on all the chapters as she read them. She’s enjoying the story, and I’m enjoying her enjoyment, joyfully. I can only hope she enjoys the rest, because I’m going to be crushed if she gets to the end and says, “That ending was shit. Not the shit. Just shit.”
This brings me right back to this crazy thought that what I prize far more than money is feedback. It’s knowing I created a reaction in my reader strong enough that my work made them want to comment about it. I know a lot of readers feel I should just be happy hearing the ka-ching of another purchase, but just buying a story doesn’t mean you got around to reading it. Hell, I’ve got stacks of print and ebooks that I’ve bought and meant to read, but haven’t yet. Others, I tried and was only a few pages in before I decided to toss them.
Being bought isn’t being read. It’s hard to tell if someone has read a book they buy until they’ve actively sought me out to say, “I read your book.” And I’ve come to realize I don’t need a proper review. Sometimes just getting that tweet or comment on Wattpad is enough. Or that vote over on Wattpad.
Over on Kobo, where I had like 4 customers in my opening month, 3 came back to leave a rating. (Two 5s and a 3, not bad.) That kind of rating doesn’t have to include a review to be a helpful note to me. It says, “I read your story, and I thought it was a 3.” And even that kind of feedback is nice. It tells me that the people who downloaded my work read it, and they thought about it enough to want to leave a score. And three out of four buyers leaving feedback is really good odds, since on Amazon, I get a lot of sales, but few ratings or reviews. Over on Amazon, I get one review or rating for twenty buyers.
And poor Sandy gets refunds on Amazon. There’s no survey from Amazon for refund requests, so I’m hoping that their requests were caused by the file having mistakes or formatting issues. That’s because I’ve uploaded another mobi file with fewer mistakes and a cleaner format now that I’ve been through the chapters making edits while looking over Wattpad posts. So if the corrected book still keeps getting refunds, I’ll know it wasn’t the mistakes in the story, it’s just the book that readers object to. And that will be sad, because people who make it through the story for free seem to be enjoying it. I can’t imagine that just asking for money will somehow make the story discomfiting.
The refunds were a form of feedback, people were trying to read the book, but found something wrong. It was either a mistake or the book having a girl with a penis as the main character. I got rid of more of the mistakes, so continued refund requests could very well be that people just don’t like reading about trans characters. In which case, I can shrug and keep trying to find readers who buy Sandy’s book, don’t ask for a refund, and liked it enough to leave a review.
Why? Cause that’s the numbers game I have to keep playing. Some people fill out lottery tickets. I fill out tweets and blog posts with links to my tickets. Last month, I put out a few hundred tickets, and I got back twenty-one answers. One of those answers was “I’d like to buy them all at the same time, please.” I got a few new reviews. I got a few more ratings. The month just started, and I’ve already got 5 sales.
But ugh, I’ve had an ugly launch week for Roll the Bones. Sure hope Kobo finds my wayward book and gives it a thorough beat down before putting it out on display.
Anywho, the moment that happens? I going to do some kind of pathetic begathon to raise sales numbers on Kobo to something higher than “Sad.” I’ve got five sales from Amazon in two days, so I figure I ought to be pulling in at least half those numbers on Kobo. But this is of course assuming that Kobo has the book in stock. Which they don’t yet, so this is for now a moot point.
So, I’ll end this sales report and ramble and leave you people alone for a bit. Will probably have a few book reviews up in the next week or so. I been reading a lot. Helps keep me calm, in theory.