[originally posted 09-18-2014]
I have had the best "organic" sales ever for a new book release. By "organic" I mean not using under the table tactics and techniques to artificially inflate sales statistics in the hope of attracting new buyers or getting a feather in my cap to wave in the air for marketing purposes.
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The rest of the story..
It was an awesome and amazing first week for my new book Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging CLICK HERE FOR MORE.
In my recent article Amazon Author Stats CLICK HERE I showed how popular my book was in two key categories on Amazon. Part of the Kindle stats came from pre-orders. This was the first book that I was eligible to offer for pre-order and it went pretty good. I'll probably do it again for a big book. It's a little bit of a hassle for any book less than 30,000 words. Just my opinion.
For Kindle Authors in the Health and Fitness category I topped out at #3,213. Out of 50k+ authors that fit in that category that puts me solidly in the top 7%.
For Paperback Authors in the Health and Fitness category I topped out at #8,176 out of 80k+ authors in that category. That's in the top 10%. It's apparently a more competitive category.
For All Authors in all categories I topped out at #41,233 out of 500k+. That's the top 8% of all authors in all categories. I guess my Kindle sales were enough to bump that stat up.
How is this significant?
If you noticed my previous book "Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau" CLICK HERE I hit #1 in two categories in Kindle. That's huge. So what's the difference here?
Well, I marketed the Secret Manual pretty heavily with a few free days. On the one hand you get to find out how many people would have bought your book in the coming year. They buy it for free all at once and it looks spectacular for a few days in your sales stats. On the other hand, that's a few hundred sales you don't get paid for. It's also a year with very low sales, since everyone has a copy already.
I didn't do that for this latest book. I actually can't afford it. My fixed costs that I have to pay from the last two years of research and development won't allow me to give up a year of sales to inflate my ranking. Sadly too, since I could have probably sold over a thousand of these in a free promotion. That being said, I don't expect that I'll ever offer this book for any price less than what it currently is. Here's the primary reason.
Amazon charges Kindle authors for the images in a book. Whenever someone buys a book we get dinged in what amounts to a per-image fee. You might notice that some Kindle training manuals in the fitness category cost more than the paperback. That's because they're paying for all the images. If you target your book at the Kindle HDX with full resolution images (as I have) then it's even worse. I have 88 of them in this book, so it's a pretty hefty investment from me whenever I sell one. The nice thing about it is that with Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Kindle Owners Lending Library they don't ding me for the images. So you get the book for free, and I don't have to pay for your download. Win-Win.
So please, get it FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime
If you have any interest at all in this book, go download it FREE and take advantage of Amazon's generosity. Or whatever it is you want to call it. It's risk free. If you don't like it after 50 or so pages just delete it and don't worry about it. It was free after all. I would be a bit broken-hearted that you didn't finish it though.
Another significant difference between my book and others published traditionally is that I didn't inflate my stats to create a run on the book by buying up a thousand copies of my own book. Traditional publishing houses do that on a regular basis to create buzz. I also didn't pay reviewers. This is common too. Some reviewers make a few hundred bucks per review. I have experimented in the past with giving away free copies to potential reviewers from among my Facebook and Twitter friends. Out of the hundred or so books I've given away explicitly for that purpose in the past two years for my eight previous books I have received four reviews. I can't afford to give this one away with statistics like that.
As far as the paperback pricing, I had originally done the math with the intent of it being 300 pages and determined that the best price was to offer it at $38.99. You'll probably have seen several of my old marketing efforts to sell it myself at that price. When I ended up with 340 pages it turned out that the price needed to be $45.99 to sell it through all distribution channels. I couldn't possibly sell it for that. I'm not a celebrity.
The pricing for a self-published paperback is based on the page count and which distribution networks your book is available in. I don't really need to go into details, but in order to offer it to real book stores, not on the internet, I actually don't make money at the $32.99 price. I'm willing to do that though so long as they don't charge me for it. In return for my generosity, Amazon has cut the price down to a bit over $26.xx - they change the price every few days so I don't want to give an exact number of pennies there. That way they feel like they're kicking the butts of the small book stores in mountain towns that I'd love to be sold in.
What makes this book different from all the rest?
Similar books from traditional publishers have come out over the past several years and even have similar page counts. Some have padded the book with hundreds of blog articles. Some have padded the book with ten page descriptions of how to do a plank. Some of these books geared toward running have padded the charts by creating versions for a 7:00 pace, a 7:10 pace, a 7:15 pace, etc. etc. You get the idea. I want to think that every single page in this book has meaning and importance in helping you to get to the summit of your dreams.
As far as other indie published books out there, all that I see are pretty small, vague, and not focused on anything other than a cool cover to get the sale. If someone has one that is at least half as awesome as mine send me the link, I'll buy a copy (Amazon only) and I'll review it for you here totally objectively, and if it's at least that awesome I'll apologize. Seriously. In return though, I expect that author to also buy mine and return the favor.
Well, like I said, it was an awesome week on Amazon. I sold way more books than I anticipated, and got some great stats in spite of not doing any shady business to get them. I am eagerly anticipating all the reviews I should get from these early sales, but realize it's a very big book with a lot of material to wade through, so I know it could be a couple months before they start trickling in.
In the meantime, go ahead and get it for FREE and start working on it. It's a great book, and if you start the program now, in 4 months you'll be in the best shape of your life for that spring hiking you have planned.
Thanks everyone who bought this book already. I hope that many more join you.