Time for a change.


Writer’s blog: Stardate: 17.03.2013

I’ve been a bit impulsive this week. Twice to be precise.

First impulse: Tuesday, I decided to pull the 2nd and 3rd Romney and Marsh books from Smashwords and the outlets that they supply. All three books have been available at no charge through Smashwords since I published them. I have explained why in previous posts but for the sake of clarity here it boiled down to one reason: encouraging people to read them and let me know what they thought of them.

It worked to a degree that I must be satisfied with. Rope Enough was published 05.12.2012 and has encouraged 538 downloads to date. (That’s still available for free through Smashwords and related outlets.). Making a Killing was published 23.12.2012 and has had 367 downloads. Joint Enterprise was published 13.01.2013 and has managed 234 downloads. How those stats relate to other people’s experiences I have no idea. They are what they are. I have received enough reviews and comments through the channels of communication that I made available to understand that the books have been generally well received and are without horrible errors and plot holes. (See Romney and Marsh Comments page here.) Job done, I suppose.

In the same period on Amazon, where I have had all three books selling for £0.77 and the $ equivalent, I have had significantly less than a tenth of the total number of downloads that I have through Smashwords. The reasons are obvious and not worth going into here.

On Tuesday, after pulling the 2nd and 3rd books I bumped their prices up on Amazon and changed from 35% royalty scheme to 70% royalty scheme. Regardless of what I typed into the price boxes, Making a Killing is now £1.53 and Joint Enterprise is now £2.05. Rope Enough stays at £0.77.

Second impulse: Today, Sunday, I have grasped the nettle and, now that the 2nd and 3rd books have had a chance to be removed from the Smashwords’ outlets, I have enrolled Making a Killing, The Second Romney and Marsh File, into the Amazon KDP Select programme. I’m waiting for that to go live.

I am interested to see how enrolment in that scheme might affect downloads of that title and influence downloads of the other two titles. For reference, so far in this sales period my current download stats for Amazon are as below. Since I bumped the prices of the 2nd and 3rd titles I have received a total of one download of those two books between the two sites.

I will now have to give some thought to using my free download days to my best advantage.


Rope Enough – 3

Making a Killing – 2

Joint Enterprise – 2


Rope Enough – 10

Making a Killing – 5

Joint Enterprise – 4


12 thoughts on “Time for a change.

  1. Thanks for this. It’s great to see some raw data for a change. Everything in self-pub tends to be shrouded in mystery.

    Out of interest, what did you mean about the prices? You tried to set them, but Amazon picked something else for you?

  2. Doesn’t it just. I’m always trying to see below the surface of people’s experiences and claims, but as you imply, people are so guarded.

    Yes, I set MAK at £1.49 and JE at £1.99 (note the clever use of those magical ‘9s’ on the end of each to attract the bargain hunters.) I set the US prices for both at $2.99. Amazon went on to list them at something just above those grrr…. I can’t understand what happened and I can’t be bothered to try to sort it even though JE is now 5p over £2 which will undoubtedly scare off the millions who would have paid £1.99 for it.

    I have wondered if it’s something to do with final download price related to file size? I have also wondered what I mean by that to no satisfaction.

    For the record, I do think that I’m being shrewd. If lots of people take advantage of KDP select for the second title they might see that it’s second in a series and, like me, think, ‘Oh. I’d rather read them in order.’ and then go and download the first and love them both so much that they will happily shell out the £2.05 for the third.

  3. Weird. Did the dollar prices change, or just the pound ones?

    Amazon does have rules about prices and file sizes, but surely none of your files are over 3MB?

  4. Both changed on US too. It’s not a big deal but I like things neat and tidy and $2.31 for a book looks, as you say, weird. I don’t think any of them are even 1MB.

  5. I think Amazon uses formulas for overseas pricing. I’m in the US and when i set the price at something and 99 cents it turns into weird numbers in Europe. Good luck with everything.

  6. I second the comment about appreciating your honesty, Oliver. I’m waiting quite anxiously to see what my first month of ebook sales will look like – because I self-published with a third party who uploaded my book to all e-platforms, I am only able to view the stats through them. 15 days into the next month – eeekkk. In some ways I envy the people who can watch their sales daily – yes and no. Maybe by the month is better. I hope to be able to share with othes as honestly as you have – when I actually have something to share 🙂

  7. Thank you, Francis. After a couple of months at it now I would say the facility to view one’s sales at the touch of a button is a mixed blessing.

    I will continue in this unusual vein of honesty by saying that I still wake every morning with a sense of excitement, which is nice at my time of life. Before I do anything else I check my download stats. However, invariably there is nothing new and disappointment is not a great way to start the day. On the odd occasion that I have had a download or three it can really put a spring in the step, which lasts about as long as it takes me to remember that (when they were all £0.77 per book) I was netting @ 26p per sale. So, clearly it’s not about the money.

    Having the ability to check stats at will can prove to be a curse unless one is terrifically disciplined because every time you log on to a computer to do something else the temptation to check, one last time, is extremely difficult to resist. Cue another injection of disappointment. Sometimes it’s better to live in hope and ignorance.

    All that said, when you get your first favourable review from someone who you have had no previous contact with – that is something to savour and spare the cat a kick.

  8. Well done for sharing the numbers. I’ve read a number of posts recently from people enrolled in KDP and on the free days some of the numbers are good, into 4 figures. I suppose you need to get the volume to read the books and leave reviews so more people see it and think, this is good a lot of people like this book.

    I thought a lot of the pricing was set via the dollar price so the ££ was controlled by the exchange rate, though I could just be making that up. Good luck with the KDP, I know a few people who’ve chosen weekends or Friday and Saturday for the first couple of free days. Both together and on a weekend to get the first boost.

    • Thanks for that. You’re right – it’s a promotion tool and one thing that I hope to gain, apart from thousands of people blindly downloading my other books, is reviews. But not crap ones.

      I’m thinking of weekend days. Maybe next, actually, so that I will have something to blog about. Cheers.

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