Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Happy New Year! And thank you for making my 2012 the best year of my life and making my dreams come true!
At the start of 2012, I wrote a post about my optimism for the year and my hopes that since, in December of 2011, I’d amazed myself by selling 100 e-books in 30 days worldwide (at 99 cents each) that I figured I had a reasonable shot, if things stayed at that level or improved, of perhaps selling 2,000 e-books in 2012. That was my goal, and I hoped with hard work and determination, that I could pull it off.
Well, wow. I sold 28,500 copies in the U.S., and over 30,000 copies worldwide. Holy. Crap.
On top of that, 135,000 copies of my book were downloaded overall, with about 140,000 copies worldwide (so roughly 100,000 to 105,000 free promo copies given away). Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
How did it all unfold? Are you interested in boring “dreams coming true” stories like that? Well, if you are, here you go:
There was a lot of drama! It was exciting! It was tormenting! It even had a deus ex machina when the CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, had to step in and help me out! But, in the end, it all led to the best (and really my first) year I’ve had as a writer and it has given me a brand new career and a new lease on life.
It started back in November of 2011 when the stories about Amanda Hocking, the 27 year old phenom unpublished writer who had sold 1 million e-books on Amazon hit the news. That moment was my moment. It was the moment that made me realize that my dreams of being a full time writer were within my grasp, and the only thing stopping me was me. I’d (ironically) been teaching my students about the fall of books and the rise of e-books, and yet I wasn’t taking advantage of it myself. Like most of the world, I was slow to realize what Amanda Hocking had realized and experienced firsthand: e-books were the future, and anyone with a book had a chance to succeed without having to worry about the gate-keeping publishers boxing them out for decades. Lucky for me, I had a book—in fact, I had three!
When I showed my wife the Hocking articles, she realized the same thing I did: that my three books, all published with a vanity publisher and getting no traction because the paperbacks and e-books were priced too high, had the potential to sell. She got right to designing our own versions of the e-books and getting the vanity publisher’s copies (which had been priced at $9.99) taken down. We priced them at 99 cents and, by the start of December, had the new versions up on as many sites as we possibly could.
We were thrilled to sell any! I mean, honestly, they hadn’t sold at all before, so to sell a few each day was a thrill! We weren’t getting rich (Amazon only pays 35 cents royalty on a 99 cent e-book) but it didn’t matter. The point was, some people out there were reading my books and that, in and of itself, was a dream come true.
In January, sales slowed down. It looked like we were going to be on pace for about 65 or 70 copies sold worldwide, but then my wife figured out that if she changed the categories that the books were under on Amazon, she could put us somewhere where readers would have an easier time finding us. In the last week, the sales up ticked, and we finished the month with 250 sales!
But that was just the start. The real game changer for us was Kindle Direct Publishing Select. Putting out books in that program and making them exclusive allowed us free promo days where we could make our books free and try to promote them on book blogs. It led to spectacular days where we were downloaded thousands of times. In early February I had one day where I sold 140 copies of Post-Human!
July was when things really kicked up a notch. After a few months of slower sales by volume because we’d put our books on sale at $2.99 (the minimum at which you can get the 70% royalty rate from Amazon and make 2 bucks per sale instead of 35 cents) a free promo at the start of July led to tens of thousands of downloads, which was followed by our best day ever on July 4th. We sold hundreds of books and had hundreds of downloads. We’re not sure how much money we made that day, but it was probably half of what we’d made in our previous best month!
We had a few more good months after that, but we also had some major troubles along the way. The worst was in November, when all of our books were knocked out of one of their categories (like losing one of your shelves in a book store to display your book on) which cut our sales in half. We were frustrated for weeks by Amazon not helping us, but then, after deciding to create a trilogy edition of our Post-Human series and selling it to make up for the loss in sales caused by Amazon’s glitches, Amazon glitched once again! The trilogy, although published, couldn’t be purchased by customers. Desperate emails to the KDP support people led to emails telling us they’d deal with it in a few weeks, after a free promo day that we’d already booked with a major book blog. We were in big trouble, as not coming through for one of these major blogs (this one happened to be the biggest in the world) causes them to sever their relationship with you, meaning they won’t promote you again. This would be a nearly fatal blow to an indie writer. Desperately, and somewhat absurdly looking back on it, I wrote to Jeff Bezos, the fricking CEO of Amazon. I told him what was happening to us and asked for his help to not let my career be damaged like that, because of a glitch by Amazon and a deaf ear on the part of his company.
And the next morning...
My phone rings. I see the number is from Seattle, Washington. My heart soars! The voice on the other end introduced himself as an executive at Amazon who had been asked by “Jeff” to see how I was doing. Wow. He listened to all of my concerns, helped me with my most pressing problems that day, and got my Post-Human Trilogy edition available for its free promo.
The promo went great and the sales in December were the best yet for any one book...in fact, they more than doubled the best any one of my books has ever done. I even had one day when the trilogy sold 800 copies in 24 hours and reached as high as #119 in the entire Kindle store! Just amazing.
So, here we are, at the start of 2013. Like last year, I have a good feeling, but this time, it’s an even better feeling. I’m not hoping for 2,000 sales, which I thought was optimistic but realistic last year based on the 100 copies I’d sold in December 2011. Since I sold 6,000 copies in December 2012, I’m going to optimistically but realistically set my sights on 72,000 copies sold in 2013. Can I reach it? Well, I’m hoping that just like last year, I look back at my forecast as laughably small in comparison to what I actually achieve.
I owe all of this to my readers. Some of you have really gone out of your way to help me without expecting anything at all in return. I still can’t believe some of the lengths complete strangers (now some of my dearest friends) have gone to so that they could support my books and my dreams. In the end, that was the best part of 2012. Thank you to all of you and let’s make 2013 put 2012 to shame!
Monday, December 3, 2012
BY POPULAR DEMAND! Just 99 cents! Held over for one more day! (December 3rd) Get the entire Post-Human Trilogy for 89% off the regular price! This edition combines all three books, which are usually priced at $2.99 each for a total of $8.97, for just .99 cents! If you're looking for popular science fiction to load someone's kindle with for Christmas, this is a great opportunity to buy a gift they'll love for cheap!
Saturday, November 24, 2012
|NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE|
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
I think people who read Sub-Human first will like having the technology explained to them at the outset, but I also think they will miss out on some of the neat retroactive surprises. Sub-Human will definitely make you see some of the characters in the later two books in a different light, so it will change your experience. It's sort of like Star Wars and the whole Darth Vader being a good guy thing. If you watch the prequels first, especially the third one, you'll have some sympathy for Darth Vader, whereas if you watch Episode 4 first, you just think Darth Vader is a stock bad guy. So, I hope that helps, but it will really be up to you to choose the way you think is best. Someone who wants all the tech explained is more likely to want to read Sub-Human first, while someone who wants to be immersed in a techno world that is a lot different than our own and doesn't care quite as much about the nuts and bolts of it might benefit from reading the series in the publishing order.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Great news :) FYI Amazon has sent out a free update of Sub-Human for anyone who wants to get the most up to date version. If you downloaded the book in the first month, some typos that may be in your version won't be present in the new one. So if you want a sparkly new version to keep in your e-reader library, the update is free!
You can get this new version by going to the Manage Your Kindle page at http://amazon.com/MYKupdate. Find the book in your Kindle Library and click on the “update available” link next to the book’s title. Within 5 minutes, any of your devices that have the eBook currently downloaded and have an active wireless connection will be updated automatically.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I recently did an interview with the publisher I used for my paperback editions of Post-Human and Trans-Human. My ebooks are no longer with them. I thought I'd post the interview since most of it is about the series and some of you might find it interesting. It's also cool to see that my old publisher now recognizes that the series is a success. Yay! (Thanks to all of you for making that happen!)
www.authors.iuniversepublisher. com/authors-in-the-news/ sci-fi-author-david-simpson/