No Rhyme or Reason

I was reading a great interview with fellow indie author and all-round nice bloke James Everington about promotion where he indicated that some months he puts a lot into getting the word out about his work and achieves few sales, and other months he puts no effort in and sees sales creep up again. I’m now into the fifth month of trying to identify a sales pattern for my work so I can try and target my efforts, and I’m getting nowhere. It’s an exercise in futility. My sales are chaos theory given form…

For example, for two months straight I outsold in the US by a margin of almost 2:1. Why this was I have no real idea as my work seems very UK centric to me. I did find that there were a few sites in the US that streamed books from Amazon so I can only guess the extra exposure on these helped. Last month, however, US sales almost completely dried up. Why? I haven’t a clue.

Throughout March I sold steadily on Amazon UK – the beginning of the month saw the greatest flurry of activity but I was selling at least one or two copies per day if not more. From about the 20th of the month, this slowed to (even more of) a trickle. Nothing for about 5 days straight at the end of the month and then suddenly a late surge of a further 3 on the 31st. (I advertised that proceeds for all sales were going to Japan for March and if anything that seemed to slow things down, which was a shame as I wanted to donate as much as I could).

When I went to bed last night I had sold 3 books – UK only – in April. When I got up this morning it had doubled. One of them was someone in the US obviously taking pity on me. It’s just bizarre. I’m an analyst by trade so I remain convinced there’s a discernable process and underlying cause to anything. But with this I’m at a complete loss. There are agencies out there who will charge you a nice fee to sort out promotion for you, but I find it hard to believe they’ll be doing much more than pissing in the wind based on the incomprehensibility of the appeal my books seem to have, randomly, at times, and in places unknown.


2 thoughts on “No Rhyme or Reason

  1. James Everington April 6, 2011 / 5:29 pm

    Awww shucks, you’ll make me blush.

    It is weird though isn’t it? Do you see the same patterns for both your books, or can one be doing well while the other’s floundering? (That’s a real analyst question isn’t it – my job title is ‘analyst’ too, maybe that’s why we’re both spending too much time trying to figure this out.) As you say, it’s particularly odd to work out for US sales.

    I’m not sure what effect those interviews had on sales, if any. My sales were better that month, but not around the time the interviews went up, so who knows if there was any delayed cause and effect there, or something else (quite enjoyable to do though).

    According to Novelrank my best sales time is Thursday at 9am. I’m not entirely sure what I’m meant to do with that information…

  2. Neil Schiller April 8, 2011 / 7:10 pm

    James, it’s even weirder when you take the two books together. The downtrends seem to effect both at the same time, but then when one starts to gather sales it doesn’t necessarily mean the other one does too. Last month I did hardly anything in the US at all. This month the Haiku book is doing well in the US but the short stories still aren’t. I have a lot of sales this month in the UK for the short stories, but the Haiku is doing hardly anything. It just leaves me scratching my head.

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