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Robert New

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fiction

Some Happy News

My book Colours of Death: Sergeant Thomas’ Casebook was released just on a year ago. I’m pleased to say it has sold over 500 copies in that time. A reasonable portion of those came from my most recent 99c promotion. I used a few different promoters this time and whether it was just the fact that my book was new to their lists or that they are just better lists, it was my most successful promotion ever. I sold over 150 copies. This was enough to put me on a bestseller list. That’s me at #6, outselling Sherlock!

Then last weekend I decided to google myself (not a euphemism) and stumbled upon a review for my book. The reviewer had bought it at Continuum last year. Here are some of my favourite parts:

“It’s an anthology of detective stories, following the same detective and following the theme of colours. Each story has a different colour as the title and that colour is plays a role in the mystery. It was great. I love the ingenuity of the author in figuring out some of the deaths. I’d never thought of any of those methods before so each one was a real eye-opener.”

“So, do I recommend it? Oh, definitely.”

You can read the full review here: https://www.suzs-space.com/colours-of-death-robert-new/

As of August the ebook has had a discount to US$3.95 and AUD$4.95 (Amazon US and AU respectively).

I’m pleased to report I’ve now written seven out of a planned nine stories for a sequel collection. I’m really happy with how the stories are turning out, even in first draft form. It’ll probably take me another month or two to write the last stories, but hopefully I’ll be able to get the book in ‘time for the editor’ shape by the end of the year. Who knows, maybe it’ll even be able to be out in time for the next Continuum, which I can only hope will run (& in a world which has eliminated covid).

How I sold a thousand copies of my book.

 

Earlier this year, I was very excited to achieve a goal I set myself when launching Incite Insight— my first real novel.* The goal was to sell a thousand copies and I did it! I’d been laughed at when I told people this was my goal when launching it. But those people must not have realised how stubborn I am. 😊

Importantly, I never set a time-frame in which to achieve the goal. 1000 copies in my first month? Totally unrealistic. But, 1000 copies in less than four years, it seems, was achievable.

So how many have I really sold? Well at the time of writing: 1005** (this excludes a further 55 e-book review copies given away via an online e-book mailing list).

The 1005 copies are made up of:
218      Paperbacks (including 8 by distributor, 11 in libraries)
38      e-books (full-price)
105      Kindle Unlimited
644      Promo e-book sales (at 99c/99p).

Most authors will say their sales are usually 80% paperback and 20% e-book. Mine are reversed since I’ve focused on selling e-books, since they are very easy to market. I’ve paid to promote my book when it’s discounted (on a Kindle Countdown deal) and used pretty much all the major mailing-list based promotional services that are out there. My favourite ones (in no particular order) are: Book Gorilla, Bargain Booksy, Book Barbarian, Fussy Librarian, Robin Reads and FKBT.

Other promotional things I’ve done: presented at sci-fi conventions and libraries, been interviewed on the radio and online, had a book launch and used social media. I’ve also done some pretty unconventional marketing at times.

The most effective thing has been to simply tell people I’d written a book. To not be shy about admitting it, and then following up if someone showed interest. The goal, in this regard, is to be tolerably persistent to get the sale. This is often the hardest thing for authors, who, it seems, aren’t big on self-promotion. You don’t want to pester too much (ie. become intolerable), as this will cause you to lose a sale (and potential sales of your next book), so learning to recognise when someone is just being polite vs showing a genuine interest is a skill authors need to learn. Unfortunately, some people are very good a making politeness seem like genuine interest. If you haven’t converted someone’s interest into a sale after three attempts, then it isn’t going to happen, and any further attempts will get you into intolerable territory.

If I count the free e-books I’ve given away (ie. review copies and via a free promotion on Amazon), there are about 2700 copies of Incite Insight out there. I know many authors who’d scoff at such numbers and say they’d sell that many in a month, but I’m still excited by what my book has achieved and that’s what’s important.

I’ve published two books since Incite Insight, but never felt the need to set a sales target for them, so, we’ll have to see how they go. While I’d love for them to reach the same sales target, I’m kind of content with what I’ve already achieved. I’ll still chase every sale and keep writing, but will try to ration my promotional budget a bit more as my cost of acquiring readers has far exceeded my return on investment.

 

*I’d self-published The Conversationist before this, but that book barely had a plot and was a more a series of musings between characters and, thankfully only 98 copies of that exist (and only 32 in print).

** For the purposes of this statistic I’m counting the 79 hardcopies I’ve given away to people since I usually managed to get at least a coffee out of them. When I ran a free promotion over 1600 people got a free e-book copy of the book but I’m not counting those as sales.

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