Monday, July 30, 2012

Smashwords Countdown

The Complete Bubby Anthology ends its KDP Select run on August 3rd. However, since the individual books were not uploaded to Amazon until a week later, I cannot make the books available on other platforms until after August 10th. However, when that day comes, I plan to have an ePub version available through Smashwords, which will distribute the book through all the other major eBook stores.

So, until then, I've decided to throw a farewell party to KDP Select and offer The Complete Bubby Anthology for free for two additional days.

My promotional efforts will include opportunities for repentance for the eBook promotion sites that ignored the book previously. These include:

Pixel of Ink
Free Books Hub
Bargain eBook Hunter
Ereader News Today (Skipped previously due to not having enough 4.0+ reviews)
Free Kindle Books and Tips (Also skipped previously, for the same reason)

However, I am not giving the various "free stuff" websites another chance. Last time I tried to promote through them, I got zero support from them. If they want to post a link to the freebie, so be it, but I'm not sending out multiple notices to them again.

So join the party this Wednesday. If you didn't get a free copy last month, here is your last chance. If you did get a free copy, then encourage your friends to get one. If you don't have any friends, then join Facebook and poke Mark Zuckerberg.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nobulescence

An astute reader from Hawaii recently observed that, when you search for the term "Nobulescence" in Google, Bubby IV - Return to Nobulescence tops the results page. In fact, it is all of the top 7 results, as Google gives you the option to view the book on Amazon's international pages as well.

I gotta say, that feels good to see... even though Google asks me if I really mean "Noblessence." It just puts a warm feeling in my heart to know that I added a jibberish word to Google's search engine.

When I replied to the reader, he noted that, as a professor at one of the universities in Hawaii, he decided to add the term "Nobulescence" to a recent multiple-choice quiz (I can only assume it was the *correct* answer).

So not only is Nobulescence a Google term, it is now associated with higher learning. In other words, you should buy Bubby IV - Return to Nobulescence today. You just might feel smarter for doing so.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Free eBooks - The Aftermath

So, many of you may be wondering what the result of free giveaways is when a book is enrolled in KDP Select (and whether KDP Select is worth doing for your book).

Two weeks ago, on Friday and Saturday, Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other was given away for free, generating 47 downloads. Prior to that time, it had sold 1 copy at regular price over the course of two months. It is interesting to note that one sale jumped the book to #114,587 in the Kindle store. That means that there are about a million books on Amazon that are not selling anything on a regular basis.

Since the promotion, the total sales has been: 0.

It is currently ranked #701,526 in the Kindle Store and #100 in the Superheroes category (so it will probably fall off tomorrow).

Last week, from Wednesday through Friday, The Complete Bubby Anthology was given away for free, generating 227 downloads. Prior to that time, it had sold 2 copies at regular price over the course of two months.

When I checked the book on Sunday, there was one sale, which led to a big jump in the paid rankings:


Since that time, it has dropped to #286,634 overall and down to #38 in the Superheroes category. It has completely dropped off the Top 100 for Comedy.

So, is enrolling a book in KDP Select worth the hassle?

For me, yes... with some conditions.

I will probably continue to launch my books first on Amazon for the 90 days required by KDP Select. My hope is that doing so will build some word of mouth, after which point I will spread out to additional platforms, such as Smashwords, which distributes to Barnes & Noble, the Apple iStore, and more.

For people already selling well on other platforms, I don't see any real benefit to unlisting your book on other platforms (as required by KDP Select), as it appears that your sales on Amazon will remain about the same following your free promotion as it was before.

If there is a sudden dramatic increase in sales over the course of the remaining month that my books are enrolled in KDP Select, perhaps then I will re-evaluate my recommendation - though I will probably still only enroll my own books for the first 90 days after publication.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free eBook Today Through Friday!

If Amazon is on the ball, the free promotion for The Complete Bubby Anthology should be going live right about... NOW.


As I have done more research on the KDP Select Program in which I'm enrolled, I've learned a disturbing new truth - free "sales" no longer count equal to paid sales in Amazon's best-seller rankings. This has been the case for nearly two months now, as Edward W. Robertson pointed out. His estimation is that all of the free downloads will count for about 1/10 of a paid sale.

So, Bubby Nation, take heart! Spread the word and let's get The Complete Bubby Anthology selling like hotcakes today, tomorrow and Friday (delicious, hilarious hotcakes)! Instead of 100,000 copies, we'll just "sell" 1,000,000. That's totally do-able... right?

I'll plan to keep updating this post throughout the remainder of this promotion to let you know how we're doing.

Update - Wednesday 6:00 a.m.:

So far we have 4 downloads. Though, to be fair, it is early and none of the sites dedicated to promoting eBooks has gotten around to posting their listings for today. Hopefully things will leap forward to 1,000,000 by noon (or at least by Friday).

I suppose it may be a blessing in disguise, as The Complete Bubby Anthology is still listed as non-fiction (I should really get around to reminding Amazon's KDP Support to update that).

Update - Wednesday 7:00 a.m.:

No real changes to report. I've also been looking over the free stuff sites and it seems to be a bit early for them to have posted anything yet. On the plus side, I learned that today (7/11), you can get a free 7.11oz Slurpee at 7-11. Also, you can get a FREE National Feral Cat Day® Magnet. Enjoy!

Update - Wednesday 10:00 a.m.:

We are now ranked #6,683 Free in the Kindle Store after having 20 downloads. Still no posts on the major eBook promotion sites. On the plus side, it is ahead of where Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other was at, and that promotion started on a Friday. Since more sale occur on Fridays than Wednesdays, The Complete Bubby Anthology is in pretty good shape. Once word spreads, we'll probably explode (not literally though - that would probably hurt!)

Update - Wednesday 11:00 a.m.:

Finally got a listing on one of the major sites: Free eBooks Daily. Thank you, Sharrel.

Update - Wednesday 12:00 p.m.:

The Complete Bubby Anthology is also now listed on Indie Books List.

Thanks to this initial publicity, we have had 34 downloads and are ranked at #4,433 Free in the Kindle Store.

Update - Wednesday 2:00 p.m.:

In 12 hours we have stormed past the number of downloads that Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other took 48 hours to get! The Complete Bubby Anthology is ranked #2,866 Free in the Kindle Store and has been downloaded 52 times.

Also, I finally heard back from KDP about my category change request. It has been completed, so hopefully within a few hours the updates will appear in the system and we should show up on some Top 100 lists.

Update - Wednesday 5:00 p.m.:

We're doing well thus far today. As the work day comes to a close, we're sitting at #1,928 Free in the Kindle Store after receiving 72 downloads. Hopefully everyone getting off work will take the time to download a copy to read when they get home.

Update - Wednesday 7:00 p.m.:

I received an e-mail from a friend today noting that Mr. Sulu has no love for Twilight. Essentially, George Takei argues that "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fans should band together, because both series deal with heroism, camaraderie and epic battles. In comparison, he notes that "In 'Twilight,' the only message that rings through loud and clear is: 'Does my boyfriend like me?'" In other words, do we really want epic tales being over-run by such sissy tales?

So join me in supporting heroism and epic battles by purchasing your copy of The Complete Bubby Anthology for FREE right now.

Currently, we are up to #1,733 Free in the Kindle Store with 81 total downloads. It is a far cry from the goal of 1,000,000 downloads we were shooting for, but I suppose there is always tomorrow (though if we could reach that number tonight, that would be fantastic).

Update - Wednesday 8:00 p.m.:

The promotion continues. With a quick Google search, I found that The Complete Bubby Anthology has been promoted on Slick Deals, CheapCheapCheap.com, and eBooks Free Free Free. Thank you to everyone getting the word out.

Update - Wednesday 10:00 p.m.:

Good news! The Complete Bubby Anthology has reached exactly 100 downloads! It is also ranked #1,587 Free in the Kindle Store.

Now, even though Amazon has finally recognized the book's true categories when you search for the book, Amazon's Top 100 has yet to kick in for either category. To refresh your memory, the book was recently moved to the following categories:

Humor > Comedy
Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror > Superheroes

How do I know that the book should be in the Top 100 in each category? Because there are only two other books listed as free in both categories. So that question is, where does The Complete Bubby Anthology fit?

Comedy:
1. The Shrew Untamed by James Carter, Bonnie Van De Ven (Ranked #752 Free)
2. Total Moisture (The Toby Series) by Robert MacLean (Ranked #810 Free)
Thus, The Complete Bubby Anthology would come it at #3.
Also, in the "Humor" category, it should be #41.

Superheroes:
1. Wandering Koala rides The Phantom Coach comic 1 by Jeff Thomason (Ranked #2,544 Free)
2. Invisible Justice (Justice Series) by Kim Jewell (Ranked #4,136 Free)
In other words, The Complete Bubby Anthology is the #1 Bestselling Superhero book on Amazon!
Also, in the "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" category, it should be #55.

But, back to the big news: We're #1!

Now I just need the Amazon computers to figure that out so I can take a picture of this fact. (If anyone knows how to get Amazon to recognize this fact - other than suggestions to be patient - please let me know!)

Update - Thursday 7:00 a.m.:

Good morning everyone! Thanks to night owls, we are now sitting at 131 downloads and a ranking of #1,334 Free in the Kindle Store.

Hopefully we can crack the #1,000 ranking barrier today (although the top 10 barrier would be cool too).

Update - Thursday 12:00 p.m.:

Sad news to report. From 6:00 a.m. to noon yesterday, we had 30 downloads. Today, during that same time, we have only had 10. That's right, the total download count currently stands at 141. As a result, the ranking has dropped 50 spots to #1,384 Free in the Kindle Store.

I feel like an NPR station manager when I say this, but The Complete Bubby Anthology really needs your support if it is going to maintain the pace needed to get in to the top 1000 Free books in the Kindle Store. Please help!

Update - Thursday 3:00 p.m.:

Time for your friendly NPR update: There have been 9 copies sold in the last three hours, for a grand total of 150. That places us at #1,618 Free in the Kindle Store. In other words, we are headed in the wrong direction.

We cannot move forward while averaging only 3 downloads every hour. Using the benchmark of 131 downloads in the first day, we will need to average 7 downloads every hour through 7:00 a.m. tomorrow to match yesterday's pace. So step it up Bubby Nation! I know you can do it!

If you need extra inspiration, how does this look?



That's right! The Complete Bubby Anthology is officially the #1 Superhero book and the #3 Comedy book on Amazon! Spread the joyous news by telling all of your friends, acquaintances, and random strangers!

For those of you who wonder such things, The Complete Bubby Anthology also comes in #53 in Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror and #40 in Humor.

Update - Thursday 5:00 p.m.:

9 more copies sold in the last two hours bring our total to 159, with a ranking of #1,719 Free in the Kindle Store. While we've picked up the average, we are not quite on the pace we need to be to reach our total yesterday. Hopefully the new crown of being the #1 Superhero book and the #3 Comedy book will bring more customers around to Bubby Nation.

Update - Thursday 7:00 p.m.:

170 total downloads, with a ranking of #1,751 Free in the Kindle Store.

I should also thank Danielle Kazemi for promoting the book on Twitter yesterday.

She refers to the book as "Worth a read." Frankly, that is probably the best review of the book ever written. I don't know who she is, but you should all start following her to show your appreciation.

Update - Thursday 9:00 p.m.:

180 total downloads, with a ranking of #1,737 Free in the Kindle Store.

On an interesting side note, Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other is ranked #85 Paid in Superheroes. Buy yourself a copy for just 99 cents (or download The Complete Bubby Anthology right now for free and get Bubby I plus the four episodes that follow.

Update - Friday 7:00 a.m.:

200 total downloads, with a ranking of #1,505 Free in the Kindle Store (so at least we're headed back in the right direction today).

Update - Friday 10:00 a.m.:

202 total downloads, with a ranking of #1,459 Free in the Kindle Store.

I'm not really sure how having only two downloads over the course of three hours helped the book move up the rankings, but I guess I'll take it.

Update - Friday 1:00 p.m.:

208 total downloads, with a ranking of #1,741 Free in the Kindle Store.

The slowdown in downloads seems to finally be taking a toll.

Update - Friday 4:00 p.m.:

215 total downloads, with a ranking of #1,884 Free in the Kindle Store.

It appears that the dream of cracking the top 1,000 in the Kindle Store will not come to fruition - barring a miracle, like Ereader News Today accepting the book for their evening listing now that there are two 5-star reviews for the book. I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

Update - Friday 7:00 p.m.:

218 total downloads, with a ranking that seems to have mysteriously disappeared...

I do not know why, but the book seems to have reverted to the paid rankings, even though it is still free. I have written to Amazon Support, but I am not anticipating a prompt response, as it is the weekend, meaning sales will likely be hurt for the remainder of the 7 hours of the promotion.

Update - Friday 10:00 p.m.:

221 total downloads, with a ranking of #2,016 Free in the Kindle Store.

The Amazon support people are going to respond to my e-mail and call me crazy... oh well, I suppose they wouldn't be the first.

Update - Saturday 6:00 a.m.:

Well, we ended up with a total of 227 total downloads. How that will bode for sales of The Complete Bubby Anthology will remain to be seen. Hopefully those who got the book will spread the word of its excellence.

However, if there is anything to be learned from all this, a book's success appears to depend almost entirely on luck. I say that now, and I'll continue to say that if any of my future books actually ever become a #1 Best Seller.

In the mean time, we are back into the paid side of Amazon's rankings, with a ranking of #834,416 Paid in Kindle Store.

Thanks for all your support these past few days. I'll try to post again within a week to discuss the aftermath.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Project Half-pipe Begins Tomorrow

What is Project Half-pipe? As proposed last month, I would like to see the sales chart turn back upward. So, beginning tomorrow, the Kindle edition of The Complete Bubby Anthology will go on sale for FREE for three days.

My hope is that when my 90-day exclusivity agreement with Amazon ends (which is why I'm able to offer these free promotional days), I'll have built a big enough following that there will be a demand for the eBook version to be available at the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, among others.

In anticipation of this event, I've spent time focusing on promoting the free promotion, as I was directed to do by multiple sites, such as Pixel of Ink and author Laura Pepper.

Pixel of Ink suggested that the promotion run at least two days. Since I have decided on doing three days, I figure I'm in a good position.

Laura Pepper told of how her book was downloaded 350 times the first morning after her only promotional efforts were announcements on Twitter and Facebook. This is in comparison to the 47 downloads of Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other over the course of two days, with no promotional efforts.

Of course, there are a number of ways to promote your book. Since I have a budget of $0, I decided to stick with the free options. Each of the following sites will freely promote your book on the days that you are offering it for free (they also will take your money, if you want additional advertising). Assuming I did it right, each of these sites will have a listing promoting my book tomorrow:

Indie Books List
Pixel of Ink
World Literary Cafe
Free Books Hub
Bargain eBook Hunter
Free eBooks Daily
Kindle Boards - The Book Bazaar (forum)
Digital Book Today (Requires your book to have 10+ reviews and a 4.0+ rating. Since I do not have any reviews yet, I skipped this site.)
Ereader News Today (I skipped this one too, due to it requiring at least 2 reviews and a 4.0+ rating)
Free Kindle Books and Tips (Also skipped, as they require 4.0+ rating - though they don't specify how many.)

Of course, one of the options overlooked by both of the sites I took my inspiration from are all of the Free Stuff sites on the internet. I started off at Hey, It's Free! then went to Totally Free Crap. Each site had a number of similar sites listed on their side bars, allowing me access to numerous sites with which to promote my book. I then proceeded to compose a short message to each of them (probably about 10-15 in all). We'll see shortly who decided to take the bait.

I even managed to get promoted on Superhero Novels, meaning my fellow nerds will hopefully check the book out as well.

And best of all? All of this costed exactly $0.

So, now we just have to sit back and wait to see how well $0 of promotion pays off.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes after the promotion ends.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bubby Is Non-Fiction. Wait... What?! (or, How To Change Your Category)

Yes, all of the Bubby books are temporarily listed as Non-Fiction. Why? Well, I'm about to explain - then show all of the other Indie authors how to do it too.

When you're creating your Kindle title in Amazon KDP, you are able to select two categories from your book out of a listing of BISAC subject headings. The sad thing is, these subject headings are not the same as the categories offered on Amazon.

So, why do I care? Well, the more specific you can make your categories, the better change people who want to read your book can find it. Also, the more specific, the better chance of making a Top 100 list.

As an example, all of the Bubby books were listed in the following two categories. In parentheses I have listed the number of titles in each category:

Kindle e-books (1,465,564)
Children's eBooks (71,508)
Action & Adventure (9,974)

Kindle e-books (1,465,564)
Humor (31,198)

Going up against 9,974 and 31,198 titles makes it a challenge to be found and get into any Top 100 lists. However, by requesting more specific sub-categories, all of the books should be given a better chance. First I'll cover the sub-categories I wanted, then I'll get around to how to make the changes.

Kindle e-books (1,465,564)
Children's eBooks (71,508)
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror (12,572)
Superheroes (133)

Kindle e-books (1,465,564)
Humor (31,198)
Comedy (639)

Under "Superheroes" and "Comedy" sub-categories Bubby stands a better chance of getting seen by customers.

So, how do you get your categories changed? Below are the directions given to me by KDP Support:

1. Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and log in.
2. Check the box at the left side of the book and then click on the "Actions" button at the top left, then click "Edit book details."
3. Scroll down to the "Target Your Book to Customers" section and click "Add categories."
4. Choose the categories on the right side of the screen, then click "Remove category."
5. Scroll down the category list on the left side of the screen, and choose the last category - "NON-CLASSIFIABLE."
6. Click on "Save."
7. Scroll down the page and click "Save and Continue."
8. You'll then be directed to the "Rights & Pricing" section. Check the box at the bottom of the screen to accept the Terms & Conditions, then click "Save and Publish."

After you have done this, send them an e-mail (or just contact them through support in your KDP account) with the exact path of the categories you wish to add (as shown in the example below), and they will add the categories for your title.

Example: Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Religion & Spirituality > New Age > Mysticism

Make sure the categories you request are already available in the Kindle Store - those are the only ones they will do for you.

So, with any luck, at some point later today (since I e-mailed them yesterday afternoon), all of the Bubby books should have more specific categories.

In the meantime, I've learned that marking your book as "NON-CLASSIFIABLE" apparently makes your title Non-Fiction in the Kindle store. Oh well.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Project Solo

The countdown to when the Kindle edition of The Complete Bubby Anthology goes on sale for FREE is just days away.

As suggested on multiple sites, I was encouraged to find outlets to spread the word of this free promotion. However, I'll leave that discussion for a future post.

In the meantime, I was curious to see what would happen if I gave away a book for free, but didn't tell anyone about it. Enter "Project Solo," in which Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other would be offered as the sacrificial lamb on Friday and Saturday to see what would happen.

Prior to the promotion, the book had peaked at #115,587 (in the Paid list).

When I looked at the book on Friday, shortly after noon, the book was already at #4,096 (in the Free list)!

By the end of the day on Friday, it had moved up to #3,307!

Imagine my joy on Saturday morning when I saw that Bubby I had reached #3,257:


Alas, it seems that Saturday morning was to be its peak. Slowly, Bubby I began to fall. At the time of this post, with about three hours to go, the book is at #4,644 (What the book will be ranked when it returns to the Paid list is difficult to determine).

As I saw the rankings slip, I was tempted to announce the promotion to build support. Alas, the scientist in me continues to want to see how this fares against the leap I hope The Complete Bubby Anthology takes (assuming that all my promotional efforts pay off).

Anyway, I hope to see you Wednesday, when we'll drive for #1.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's Gonna Be Great!

First off, Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! To my British friends, no hard feelings, eh? (the "eh" was for my Canadian friends).

Without further ado, your pleas have been heard (Well, assuming your pleas we're for a free copy of the Kindle edition of The Complete Bubby Anthology

The excitement is building and the dates will be announced shortly...

The freebie promotion will run from next Wednesday, July 11 through the end of Friday, July 13 (How's that for "shortly"?!).

So spread the love by spreading the word!