Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Power of Advertising

I published my first ebook Hamelin's Child in February this year.By March, I was thinking of having a play with advertising and I paid for a small slot on a large-ish review site - I think the ad came and went a few weeks later with no noticeable increase in sales. I wondered whether it was a waste of money, but thought I'd try once more. So I picked Ereader News Today and paid for a book-of-the-day sponsorship. It cost me $25, but it doesn't seem much when you convert it to sterling. Got an email saying the next slot was October and I promptly forgot about it.

The ad went live yesterday (26th October). Not sure what time as it's a US site. I came home from work early as I was going out to the theatre that night and logged on about 3.30pm to nothing much. By 4pm, I'd sold over 100 books on and by late that evening I'd sold over 300.
#180 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#45 in Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers
#53 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Mystery & Thrillers

Probably the highest ranking I'll ever see, but there it is. Sales are still trickling in more than 24 hours later and I'm hoping that I'll get more from sample downloads that convert to sales.

Trouble is, has decreed itself the custodian of my US tax liability. Until I can get a foreign-national US tax id, amazon keep 30% of my earnings against tax. To get a tax id, I have to get a letter proving sales. Can I get one out of amazon? No - they are still talking with the IRS  about what is legally acceptable (despite the fact that other UK authors have got letters out of them). Whereas the other US ebook distributor smashwords apparently automatically sends out tax letters once sales reach a threshold.

So if you have the urge to buy one of my books, please go to smashwords instead of amazon. That way I can get all of my money back from amazon instead of letting them keep it for the IRS!

Update 3rd November -  I reckon I've sold close on 450 ebooks as a direct result of one advert and they are still trickling in slowly.

Friday, 21 October 2011


Been offline for a while. I'd like to say I've been writing, but I haven't even been doing that. Well, not much anyway - although I can report a couple of short story acceptances in e-anthologies coming from MWiDP. One was my blowing-up-Liverpool story, so I guess I can abandon my pathetic attempts at cover production (see an earlier post), although I have since attended two 1-day photoshop courses.

After the near-implosion of the British Fantasy Society towards the end of September (you either know about it or you don't - and believe me it's way too long and complicated to get into any detail here), I've been through a bit of a period of reflection. Two weeks being deluged in emails, blog posts and newspaper articles (broadsheet as well as tabloid) and I've realised how much influence the internet can have over lives and how quickly things can go viral online. It's actually quite scary and has made me pull back slightly from all this. For the first time in a long while, I wasn't checking facebook and twitter every night and I have to confess that a lot of emails were scanned and deleted when I realised I had nothing useful to contribute and was only stressing myself out by reading them. And although I wasn't directly a part of any of it, it's made me question a lot of things, not least how quick people are to be judge and jury. I know I will be less quick to jump in with both feet to volunteer in future, and that's sad.

But time to move on. There are worlds to explore and stories to write. And good friends to keep in touch with.

And I've started Christmas shopping!