Well, since my last blog post, I saw my novel Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice hit #1 in top free best sellers in Biographical Fiction on Amazon US. If I had been paid for those downloads, I would have made more in royalties in a few days than well over a month of my part-time minimum wage job. I did some calculations, and if I were to sell at the rate of what was downloaded with the promotion, I would make nearly six figures annual in NZ dollars in royalties. Whereas, I made a few hundred bucks from actual sales, prior to the giveaway, which I invested into testing out marketing and promotion options. Potential is there.
It was a ridiculous goal to be an internationally bestselling author when I was struggling so much with bipolar 1 disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, that I was unable to cook a scrambled egg with a scrambled brain, or remember how to take my meds on my own. It took 7 years to complete Pet Purpose. I wrote and edited it in short bursts every few months.
Indie Author with ridiculous goals
I did all the research to publish my novel myself on a low budget. I set myself some 'ridiculous' goals that took a lot of effort to achieve. Including an art exhibition, when I had only a few paintings and wasn't sure how I was going to make it happen. Where there's a will, there's a way, so I've heard. I ended up having two art as therapy exhibitions.
The art was actually the visual mind maps to help me to remember what my main themes were to write the book. Everything is connected for me. I have had many accomplishments, even though I am not 'successful' financially. Going after meaningful accomplishments gives me a sense of purpose. I help others with my independent mental health and disability advocacy including avlog, Bipolar Courage.
HOw I think My Ebook went to # 1
I was featured on eBook Daily. I suspect this was the main influence for my book to go temporarily to #1 in category, as they send a newsletter to over 23,000 subscribers (way more than I have), with the cover only (the cover is my own artwork and my own design). The highest number of downloads were on day 1, before I announced it on social media and before the Facebook ad was approved. I also promoted the heck out of it myself but I have a much smaller reach than eBookDaily, who have subscribers on the lookout for free books. It sat at #2 for a few days during the promotion.
It was a small and reasonable fee after my submission was accepted with eBookDaily through their author site. I am also a Bronze member of Independent Author Network, who featured my book on their site and they tweet daily about my book. I thought the fee was reasonable. All the links help rankings with search engines. I learned this from when I used to blog prolifically (winning several accolades - now deleted) and then started an award-winning pet sitting business and ranked my website number at the top of my city on a shoestring budget.
I weighed up another service which submits to several other free book promotion directories. I won't name them, but I doubt it was worth the fee as I didn't notice a boost once it would have kicked in (halfway through the promotion). If running a promotion, need to set up at least a week in advance and I was late trying this. There are other services that have ridiculously high fees and/or will only consider books that already have over 10 reviews. So stuck in a catch-22 of trying to get reviews, plus not even an option for me on a low income. Pet Purpose has 5-star reviews, but apparently people can't leave a review unless spend a certain amount with Amazon.
Stay Exclusive or Go Wide?
I am expecting my novel to plummet once the free promotion is over and be buried again under many other books. I am pretty sure my paid sales have been from promotion on social media with my mental health and disability advocacy as Bipolar Courage. Readers from 10 countries have informed me they have my book.
Other indie authors recommended doing a free giveaway when launching a book, to help get it seen and to generate interest. One can do a free giveaway with being on the Amazon KDP program, which is free to participate in. I've already discovered there are pros and cons with being exclusive to Amazon, which includes to potential readers. I will start another blog post to address this - whether to stay exclusive with KDP Select on Amazon or to 'go wide' (other distributors).
Pet Purpose is currently available as an e-book and print-on-demand softcover (better quality than I expected) from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada. It is also available as an e-book in other territories including Amazon Australia. I ordered my print copies from the US to be shipped to New Zealand.
Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).