Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Defining Success - Raising the bar for DCI Morton's return in Cleaver Square

Determining how successful a book has been is decidedly difficult. We can look at total sales, sales per day on sales, revenue total, revenue by word count, etc etc.

The most apparent option for most authors is to go by Amazon sales rank.

A statistic like '#15,304' in paid store is objective, and current. It's a decaying average stat (so today's sales are worth more than yesterdays, last week's barely influence it, and the further back you go the less those sales matter).

What that means is that today, it's selling less than 15,303 books but more than all the others. To put in perspective there are:

·         2.2 million eBooks

·         8 million hardback books

·         22 million paperbacks

That's alot of competition. Worse than 15,000 sounds pretty mediocre. Better than 2 million+ is much more palatable. Of course, it varies day to day. Sometimes the swings are pretty extreme.

The lowest Dead on Demand has ever been on Amazon UK is #132,110 (on September 2nd 2012). The highest it's been is #1 Free (September 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th 2012) & #168 paid (on September 11th 2012).

That means, at the worst it's ever been, there are over 2 million books selling less. That's top 5%, so not bad by any standard.

At its best, it beat 2,187,344 out of 2,187,512 or  99.992320042130054600843332516576% of all eBooks. That's a pretty impressive percentile, if I may be so arrogant as to say so. That's based on paid of course. Free, it beat 100% of the competition :)

I think, for two total novices with no experience writing anything, that we can be happy with those stats.

For our next book, we'd love to do even better. There are thousands of potential readers out there who've read Dead on Demand, and may go on to try Cleaver Square. This one has taken much longer. Dead on Demand was done and dusted in 48 days total. Cleaver Square has taken closer to a year - and we're not done yet. We've got a great deal of experience under our belts from marketing Dead on Demand, and a better budget to do it with.

So, success has got to be 'Outsell yourself'. That's a big ask for a sequel. Typically, sequels sell less than the original. We've been very careful to keep Cleaver Square out of the trap of requiring readers to be Dead on Demand fans. It's got the same central detective, but it's 100% standalone. Reading one won't spoil anything for the other. We'll mention the connection of course, but it won't be a core part of the marketing strategy in the way a series with a big story arc is.

Do you reckon we can do it? #167 or better in the UK? Not easy, but we've got to give it a go. I'd love to break the top 100, and we're taking every precaution this time to make sure there are no errors to kill the momentum (as long term blog readers will know, we got pulled on a Kindle Quality Notice while climbing in the ranks). If we can avoid the dreaded KQN (probably brought on by the overexposure of 55,000 downloads in one week) then I'm confident we can deliver a solid story that will earn out our investment.

How you can help: Volunteer to host us for a cover reveal. We've got the art sorted, and we'd love to show it off on your blog. We're aiming to do a concurrent reveal on multiple blogs in a few weeks time - and your help would be very much appreciated :)



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