Writing Resources

Stories and Amazon Sales

So something strange happened this week… one of my stories was priced ‘free’ on Amazon (I mentioned it briefly last post).

So far my publishing short story reprints to AmazonSmashwordsAnthologyBuilder has been mostly an experiment in ePublishing, testing the waters so to speak.

Sales have been far from brisk :)

But with ‘The Prophet‘ being free several thousand readers downloaded it in the span of a few days. And in those same two days I’ve had more sales of other stories than in the couple years I’ve been on Amazon.

No, please, don’t be too happy for me. The sales are still rather puny and I wouldn’t be quitting my day job over them (not that I have a day job).

Now what I’m trying to do is figure out why particular stories sold rather than others because only two of my half dozen or so stories online are actually selling. The two titles benefiting from the ‘The Prophet’ are ‘Digital Rights’ (my Writers of the Future winning story) and ‘The End of the Road’ a second story featuring the character of Wanderer from the ‘The Prophet’.

Digital Rights‘ – As mentioned previously this story won a spot in the Writers of the Future Contest *and* it has a kind review from Krista D Ball. So I’m thinking those two facts might be influencing why readers reading the free story are heading that way.

The End of the Road‘ – I’d like to think that the reason readers are downloading this story (despite a lack of reviews) is that it is a continuation of the story started in the ‘The Prophet’.

So these seem reasonable guesses as to why some are being picked by readers and others are not. I’ll continue to do more experiments and let you know and if you have any thoughts, please throw them my way.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.

7 Comments

  • chris

    I downloaded End of the Road because it was another Wanderer story. ┬áAlthough, now I’m wishing for a middle tale about the wars :)
    I assumed it was all a clever ploy (free story leading to another that isn’t). ┬áIt worked, though.

  • Brent Knowles

    Chris,

    Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the stories.

    There will be more tales… I have a few others set in the world and of course a novel-in-progress about the wars themselves.

    Take care
    – Brent

  • Ricardo Cunha

    Yeah, Chris is right, I think the best ways to sell eBooks are through series and making the 1st one in the series free(or 0.99$ that’s almost free too, but not so many results as free), so people can enjoy a full book and if they like it they will buy the next stories to see what happens next.

    That way they secured that if they don’t like that sort of story or something about the book they don’t lose anything.

    A gradual rising in price as the series advance may be a good strategy too. But I think digital books over 5 dollars are a bit too much, I can buy one or two above 5 dollars but only if I really like the series or the book seems good and had some experience with the Author of that book.

    Well that’s my opinion, not that I’m publishing books myself but I’m certainly reading them and that’s the way I act and I think a good load of people too.

    And if it’s an separate book, start with low prices like 0.99 and raise it has you gain some reviews and sells.

    You can post on the Kindle Publishing forums too, the people there are very helpful, you can change review of books with some people and can even get some help from people that have been self publishing eBooks for a long time. Or even advertise your works at MobileRead like you did :)

    And to prove what I’m saying, when I finish “The Prophet” I will most probably buy “The End of the Road” if I found it amusing, as most certainly I will for what I’ve read of it ;)

    BTW you should say that “The End of the Road” is a sequel from “The Prophet”┬á as I only knew it had a continuation here.

    Well sorry for the long post, just wanted to share my thought as a
    consumer (at least only that for now, who knows somewhere in the
    future).

  • Brent Knowles

    Ricardo,

    Thanks! Some interesting insight here. I am certainly learning a lot about digital publishing the past few months.

    Due to the interest in The Prophet and The End of the Road I am slightly adjusting my plans for this year and I intend to finish writing a novel detailing the events between the two stories.

    Have a great week,

    ┬á– Brent

  • Ricardo Cunha

    Well I’m glad I could help even if it was a little :)

    So I’ll be waiting for it to “come out”, I might check out ‘Digital Rights’ too sometime.

    Have a great week too,
    (Reading your Lazy Designer collection now)

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