Cupid’s Way – Free Promo Report

Here it is, guys – the report on my latest Free promotion with KDP. Downloads, after-sales, money spent, the lot! I was curious to see how this promo would work out, as it’s been a while since I had a book new to free (as in, hasn’t been free before), and I know that Amazon are changing how free books behave once they go back to paid all the time. Read on for the breakdown of what I did and what happened …

Advertising the promotion

I tried to get Cupid’s Way listed with Bookbub, but was turned down. As it only has 7 or 8 reviews in the US, I think that was pretty much expected. Instead, I spent $55 listing it with some of the smaller paid email services: Ereader News Today (the most expensive at $20), Digital Book Today ($15), Ebooks Habit ($10), Free Discounted Books ($5) and the Kindle Book Review ($5). This was still a lot cheaper than Bookbub! I also had a free book of the day slot on Kindle Users Forum, which would have cost £8 but I got this free with a voucher I already had.

I listed the book with all the other free sites, and posted it on my blog and FB etc. Lots of lovely people Tweeted and shared, including the very influential Terry Tyler, who has so many Twitter followers it makes my mind boggle. (Thanks, Terry.) Then I sat back and waited …

During the promotion

On the first day of free – Thursday 9th October – Cupid’s Way had 5,556 downloads, mainly in America. On day two, that dropped to 3,565 downloads, and then went back up to 4,564 on the third day. The final two days saw downloads tailing off a little, at 4,243 and then 3,012 on the final day. Here are the total figures, broken down by country:

US 13,906
UK 6,314
DE 539
FR 47
ES 12
IT 24
JP 4
IN 51
CA 134
BR 5
AU 46
Total 21,082

I was happy with the overall amount in the UK – which is the only place I ever see any real after sales effect, to be honest. Here is the graph showing the ups and downs of the promo:

Cupid's Way graph free downloads

 

Cupid’s Way reached number 29 in the US free charts, and number 6 in the UK. To make any real impact on sales, I still think you have to get to number 1 and stay there for a while, but I was happy with these figures, and curious to find out what would happen next.

After the promotion – rankings

Before Cupid’s Way went free, sales had settled to between 3 and 5 a day, with very little KOLL borrows or Kindle Unlimited reads. It was sitting at #15,000 in the overall charts, and tended to range between this and the #20,000s.

A day after it went back to paid, it charted at #1,018, and then went on to climb to the dizzy heights of #582 overall in the Kindle charts, hitting number one in the category for Parenting & Family Humour …

Cupid's Way #1 bestseller list

 

Cupid's Way #1 bestseller

Best of all, it reached number 33 in the popular Romantic Comedy category, sitting side-by-side with some really big names like Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella …

Cupid's Way rom com charts #33

 

Which is all lovely, but what about sales? Yes, I know you’ve only read up until this point because you’re waiting for me to get to the nitty gritty ;)

After the promotion – sales

Well, the surprising thing is, sales weren’t as good as these rankings suggest. The first day back to paid, Cupid’s Way had 25 paid-for downloads, which isn’t that many really. Then began the inevitable downward spiral (see below) and now, two weeks later, sales are just about back to their normal level. But, what has obviously helped with chart position is the number of Kindle Unlimited reads. Check out this chart – red is paid units, blue is KOLL/Kindle Unlimited units:

CW paid v KUObviously, the flat red line at the bottom is when the book was free – no sales then – but look how the borrows climb, even as the sales tail off. This must mean that Amazon are pushing post-free books to their Kindle Unlimited customers, because only good visibility gets results like this. It seems as though the ranking algorithm takes into account both sales and KU or KOLL reads, which is good news.

Final thoughts

The other bonus, of course, is increased sales of other books, and both Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap have seen a small increase, both in sales and KU/KOLL reads. There has been no effect on the Flora Lively mystery, because I guess there just isn’t any crossover in genres here. But there have been some fantastic reviews of Cupid’s Way, which is always another massive bonus of doing free.

So, there you have it, in all its forensic detail :) I hope you find this useful for planning your own free promotion, and I think I can say that KDP is still worth it for a bit of a boost.

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Mystery November Book Tour – Coming Soon

Starting this Saturday 1st November is the Mystery November Book Tour, hosted by the lovely Rosie Amber. Click here to go to Rosie’s blog and find out more (I’ve listed all the dates below as well) …

November Mystery Tour

Murder at the Maples is heading up the tour on day one, and there’s an exclusive interview with yours truly – I’ll post links to that on Saturday. What I’m looking forward to is finding out about different genres of mysteries, and hearing from all the different authors. As a relative newcomer to the mystery writing world, I’m always on the lookout for a new author to enjoy, and that’s what this tour is all about.

1st November – Murder At The Maples by Joanne Phillips

2nd November – Spirit Warriors: The Scarring by Della Connor

3rd November – The Singing Bowl by Roy Dimond

4th November- The Ties That Bind by E,L Lindley

5th November – A Single Step by Georgia Rose

6th November- Nobody’s Fault by Terry Tyler

7th November- Diamonds and Dust by Carol Hedges

8th November- Doppelganger by Geoffrey West

9th November- The Body On The T by Mike Martin

10th November- Marlin, Darlin’ by Margaret Langstaff

11th November- Blood Pool by Jan Ryder

12th November- The Truth Will Out by Jane Isaac

13th November- The Dream by Maria Savva

14th November- Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward

15th November- Abduction: An Angel Over Rimini

16th November- Counteract by Tracy Lawson

17th November- The Sand Bluff Murders by C.M. Albrecht

18th November- Jamie’s Gamble by Greg Bell

19th November- Center Point by Robert Clark

20th November- Prime Deception by Carys Jones

21st November- Steps Into Darkness by Ben Woodard

22nd November- The Haunting Of Secrets by Shelley Pickens

23rd November- Buffalo Soldiers by Nicholas Denman

24th November- Blond Cargo by John Lansing

25th November- No Strings Attached by Lily Bishop

26th November- Isia’s Secret by Ray Stone

27th November- Pattern Of Shadows by Judith Barrow

28th November- Eden’s Garden by Juliet Greenwood

29th November- A Time For Silence by Thorne Moore

30th November- Twilight Images by Ethel Lewis

Of all these books, the only one I’ve read (other than my own, of course) is Terry Tyler’s excellent Nobody’s Fault, which will be half price at the time of the tour. November is to be a busy month, as I said yesterday, but I’m still going to try and find time to visit each of these authors and check out their books. My reading list is about to expand!

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Half Term Madness Is Here

It only seems like a couple of weeks ago that I wrote my post about how to find time to write during the summer holidays! And already, half term is here, and with it that old pressure to find time to work while looking after a lively and engaging six-year-old. I’m going to be re-reading my own advice!

I seem to have a lot on my plate again, all of a sudden. Here is a list of my projects on the go right now (in no particular order):

  • Write an outline for my MA novel, ready to start writing for NaNoWriMo
  • Write at least 50,000 words of said MA novel in November
  • Complete an index for City & Guilds by 27th November
  • Attend the Indie Author Fair in Chorleywood on 16th November
  • Work on my teaching creative writing assignment for the MA, which includes finding somewhere where I can run a course of creative writing workshops
  • Go on tour with Flora Lively: Murder at the Maples on 1st November (more on that tomorrow)
  • Keep up with my FutureLearn courses
  • Keep up with the blog and general promotions etc

Phew, I’m knackered just looking at that lot. It won’t come as any big surprise to hear that I’ve decided to postpone the launch of A Date With Death – sorry to anyone who was looking forward to reading it in November. Hopefully it will be out in December, but I’ll keep you informed.

So, an exciting and jam-packed November to come. Most of all, I’m looking forward to doing NaNoWriMo. (Be my buddy on NaN0 – click here.) This will be the first year I’ve had a really, really good reason to complete it – I need to get a wriggle on with my Masters novel, which is due in by the end of March next year. I’d love to have a word count update on the blog – does anyone know of a WordPress plug-in that will do that?

What have you guys got planned for half-term?

Memories of the summer hols - a me and hubby selfie taken at Criccieth beach

Memories of the summer hols – a me and hubby selfie

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Tiramisu-tastic: The Talented Martina Munzittu on Non-Fiction Excellence

Today I’m really excited to welcome to the blog my talented friend and author, Martina Munzittu. I asked Martina if she’d be happy to answer some questions about her latest release, a cookery book with a difference: Tiramisu Recipes From Italian Friends and Family. What’s really interesting about this interview is how Martina managed to produce a non-fiction book with the same beautiful standards as any traditionally published cook book. Read on to find out more …

STOP PRESS: The Kindle edition of Martina’s book is on special offer this weekend only at $0.99/£0.77! The usual price is $4.99/£2.99 so grab yourself a bargain then come back to find out more :)

Tiramisu Cover Square

  • Martina, I think the idea for an authentic Italian cookbook like this – with recipes inspired by your friends and family – is brilliant, but it’s also perhaps an unusual project for an indie author to undertake alone. Can you tell us a little about where the idea came from, and why you decided to self-publish rather than pitching it to a traditional publisher?

I had been thinking for a long time about writing a cookery book, but somehow the time never seemed quite right.  I love cooking and I particularly like baking and preparing desserts. Several months ago I was making tiramisu for some friends who were coming to dinner. Over the years I had changed the traditional recipe and added a layer of chocolate mousse to it. I love espresso coffee, but I’m not fond of coffee in my desserts, so I had replaced the coffee with Martini. While I was melting the chocolate in the saucepan, I started to think of the many times I tried tiramisu as a guest in the homes of my friends and relatives in Italy. How a simple, wonderful dessert could taste quite different depending on the person who made it. But not only that, I remembered the varieties of tiramisu I had had. The fruity tiramisus during the summer, children’s ones at birthday parties, alcoholic treats at weddings. And that’s where the idea for the book came from. I was going to ask my family and friends not only to give me their tiramisu recipes, but also to send in the photos of their desserts once they made it.

As far as pitching the book to a traditional publisher, to be honest, the thought never even entered my head. I just went ahead and self-published it.

  • When I got the pdf proofs to do the index for this book I was amazed at how professionally it had been laid out. Did you use a professional typesetter, and what other professional services did you employ on this title?

Tiramisu_6-7_LR

My biggest challenge with this book was to ‘marry’ the images with the text in a uniform and elegant way. I tried doing it with Word, but it wasn’t working. I realized that I needed the help of a professional and I found a lovely lady, Janet Tallon, who is a talented designer. I had an idea of what I wanted the book to look like, so I gave her the brief, provided the text and photos, and she produced something that exceeded my expectations.

The other challenge was to create the ebook. Ebooks with images are not that easy to do, especially when you have 70 photos. They need to work in every device, not just the kindle readers. Not to mention the fact that Amazon charges the author $0.15/£0.10 for each MB of data if you go for the 70% royalty option, and images tend to be heavy. I didn’t want my ebook to be too heavy/costly. So I had to hire another expert, as I was not capable of formatting the ebook so that it would work in any ereader and be ‘light’ at the same time. Serena Zonca was the lady who helped me format the ebook, and she did a fantastic job.

  • If the pdfs were good, the physical book itself was another huge surprise! As I said above, I’m really impressed with the quality of the final product, but I know you had some issues initially with the printing. Can you talk us through that and how you resolved it?

I published the book with Lightning Source and they had two options for printing in colour. Standard and Premium.  At first I went for Standard, because I wanted my book to be reasonably priced, but when I received the proof copy, I wasn’t happy with the quality of the paper: it was too thin and flimsy, I could just imagine any cook holding the book in their hand getting cross as the pages might tear. So I decided to upgrade to Premium Colour. Unfortunately, this pushed the price up of the paperback from £7.99 to £12.99. This is something that concerns me a lot as a self-published author, as I see many traditionally published authors (often celebrity chefs) who have fantastic cookery books out there, which sell for less. And I can’t compete with those prices (let alone with those names!)

  • The photos in the book are lovely, and everyone knows food photography is very difficult. How did you get such great pics?

Tiramisu_26-27_LR
The pictures were a huge challenge, both for me and my friends who were sending them to me via email. Some photos I was receiving were out of focus, at times the lightning wasn’t right. Some just didn’t do justice to the desserts so I had to ask those people to make the tiramisu again and re-send the photos and I felt really bad about that. I had to do my own tiramisus a few times, in order to get the pictures right. There was a lot of trial and error, and you can see that the style of photography varies considerably, depending on who made that particular dessert. In the end we got there, thanks also to the help of Janet, who managed to get the best out of each photo.

  • Which part of the process did you enjoy the most? (Okay, I’m guessing it was cooking and eating loads of tiramisu!)

You got that right, Jo! However, after you make tiramisu twice a week for several months, you kind of have enough of it… My husband though, always seemed to appreciate it, he liked the variety of the desserts. For me it was different, maybe because I was actually making them, measuring the ingredients, testing the recipes, writing about it; after a while I decided I didn’t want to eat another tiramisu for at least a month. It only lasted one month… I’m back on it now.

  • What’s next for you as an indie author-publisher?

I’m working on two other cookery books. One will be about pasta sauces and one about risottos. They will follow the same format as the tiramisu book, a collection of recipes from Italian friends and family.

  • Finally, what advice would you give any readers who are thinking of self-publishing a non-fiction title, particularly one that needs to look as beautiful as this?

This is my first non-fiction book, so I still consider myself as newbie. In my limited experience so far, I would probably say that many rules of writing fiction still apply: your research shows, so whether you’re writing about cooking or any subject, it’s important to get your facts straight. The style needs to be engaging and warm, which is easier to do when you’re dealing with chocolate desserts, rather than a DIY manual, but as writers we’re expected to be creative. Now, if you’re book has many pictures and you don’t have the skills to put it together yourself, I definitely recommend finding a professional who can help you, both for the design of the paperback and the ebook. You can spend hours and hours trying to do it yourself and still end up with something that doesn’t look good enough, while it’s best to use your time doing what you do best: writing a good book.

Martina

Martina Munzittu was born and raised in Italy (Sardinia); she now lives in Cambridgeshire, UK, with her husband and young daughter. She writes contemporary romance and chick-lit books. Her debut novel A Deal with a Stranger is a romantic/mystery set in Sardinia; Incompatible Twins and The Broken Heart Refuge are set in London.

Like many Italians, Martina has a passion for food and this comes across in her books, where the protagonists of her stories are often obsessed with cooking and eating. Martina’s latest books are dedicated to this passion.

Click here to buy the book 

Click here to visit Martina’s website

 

 

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