The Kindle Countdown… by the numbers (so far)

Today was the “unofficial” first day of my Kindle Countdown Deal for The Peregrine Prophecy.  I say “unofficial” because the Amazon countdown-o-meter actually started “counting down” on January 29 – as I mentioned here - but today (January 30) was the first day that my co-ordinated ad campaigns kicked in.

And kick in they did.

So in the spirit of the indie author community, I thought I’d give back by sharing how the first two days have shaped up.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that compared to some authors I know, my Countdown results aren’t moving any mountains.  But y’know what? At only two days in, I’m pretty happy with the way things are shaping up so far.  To me, getting my books in the hands of readers is all that matters. Bonus points if they: 1) read them; and 2) enjoy them!

For those of you who are authors and might be considering a Countdown, I hope what follows is helpful :)

January 28, 2014 (Day -1)

The day before the start of the Countdown, both books’ rankings were fairly similar, hovering between #200,000 and #300,000 Paid in Kindle Store.

Sales for book one (The Cloudstone Key) had been stronger for January, which tends to be the case for the first book in a series. In terms of markets, the US was my strongest, followed by the UK, Canada, and Australia.  Side note… I was very happy when I saw my first sale to India come through. Power of Amazon, huh?

January 29, 2014 (Day 0)

The “official” start of the Countdown. I also dropped the price of The Cloudstone Key for a few days (as I mentioned here) just to see what would happen.  No advertising was arranged – which is why I’ve mangled the labeling by calling it “Day 0″ – other than word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, and the blog post I mentioned earlier.

The result (I wish I’d taken a screenshot – I did for the next day) both books’ rankings shot up, with Cloudstone flirting with #70,000 or so Paid in Kindle Store and Peregrine around #90,000 Paid in Kindle Store.  While a definite improvement over Day -1, neither book managed to rank in any of its sub-catergories on Amazon. Once again, my strongest sales were in the US, followed by the UK, Canada, and Australia.

All in all, not a bad day!

January 30, 2014 (Day 1)

The rubber hits the road. The “unofficial” first day of the Countdown. The Cloudstone Key was still priced at $0.99 and I had a variety of ad campaigns running in concert – including spots at Kindle Books & Tips [for Cloudstone], BookBlast, Bookgorilla, and ebookdailydeals.com and .co.uk.

As at 10:06pm PST, here is where both books sat:

The Cloudstone KeyScreen Shot 2014-01-30 at 9.34.05 PM

The Peregrine ProphecyScreen Shot 2014-01-30 at 9.34.25 PM

 

What a difference a day (with co-ordinated promotion) makes!  Both books managed to attain respectable Paid in Kindle Store rankings and achieve fantastic results in their respective sub-categories. Cloudstone breaking into the Top #100 in the Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery category was something I was especially happy to see!  Have a look:

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 9.45.44 PM

I almost had to do a double-take when I noticed The Cloudstone Key was sandwiched between Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin!  I mean… really?  My book?!  Wow.

The country profile stayed the same in terms of most prominent markets, starting with the US, followed by the UK, Canada, and Australia.

That’s it for now!

Tomorrow (January 31 – Day 2), the price of The Cloudstone Key will drop back to $2.99 and more spots will kick in for The Peregrine Prophecy. I’ll check back in a few days from now with an update.

Darren

Admission to Tholann: $0.99

There’s nothing quite like adding a new book to your ereader/tablet… am I right?

So to celebrate that ‘fresh n’ new’ feeling, and what is shaping up to be an excellent year for the fantasy genre (including the upcoming release of the final volume in the Rithhek Cage Trilogy), you can (for a limited time) grab the first two books –  The Cloudstone Key and The Peregrine Prophecy [US Store/UK Store]1 – on Amazon for only US$0.99 each!  That’s a 67% savings off the regular kindle price of $2.99!

The Rithhek Cage covers side by each (500w)

Three hundred years have passed since the Rithhek locked away a powerful evil; one threatening to end all life on Tholann. That peace is now in jeopardy. A prophecy revealed, arcane and martial forces are gathering to eradicate three centuries of history and assume dominion over all of Tholann – unless Karsen Morgate does something to stop it.

For those of you who I haven’t met (if one can say such a thing on a blog) and would like to know what this is all about… the setting for the Rithhek Cage trilogy – Tholann – represents years of worldbuilding, plotting and developing; all taking place before the first word was typed. I did this not only to ensure that I had a sense of the arc of the entire series, but to bring you the most entertaining fantasy adventure story I could, from the first page through the last. Both of the books above were published in 2013, with the final installment expected to hit the shelves in a few months time (more on that later)!

I hope you decide to give the books a try – as an indie author, it would really mean a lot to me. There really is no greater reward than knowing my books are out there in the world. Here’s hoping some of you might even enjoy them! :)

Darren

ps – by all means, please feel free to dip your ereader/tablet in the water before you decide to dive in: pick up  A Reader’s Guide to Tholann for FREE!

1 – Amazon has told me that those of you trying to access the promotion for The Peregrine Prophecy from a country other than the US or the UK, may not be able to see it on the Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Kindle Stores. I’m not sure why this is… and I hope they find it in their hearts to change it someday. Us Canadians, Australians, etc like deals too!

Counting down the hours (and ‘up’ the thanks)

T-minus five hours or so left in 2013 here on the west coast!  So I’ll make this quick :)

The other day, I looked back on my year and gave some perspective on how my ‘year of firsts’ was.  And one of the items I alluded to in that post involved being embraced by such an amazing indie author community.

So I had to share the following from my fellow author, A.G. Riddle. Gerry’s a fantastic novelist who took the self-publishing world by storm in 2013 with his Origins Mystery series (and his breakout debut, The Atlantis Gene).

Thank you Gerry… and thank you all for reading (the blog and the books).  Happy New Year, whatever your time zone is!

Darren

And on we go

As we round the corner into the final stretch of 2013, I’m grateful for the last twelve months that have just whipped by.  And here’s why…

It’s been a year of BIG ‘firsts’ for me: our first child (son) was born in April, I stepped into the world of self-publishing (putting the first book of my trilogy out into the world in August), I joined – and was subsequently [electronically] embraced by an amazing global, indie author community, and we just recently enjoyed our first Christmas at home here in Vancouver with our first ‘real’ Christmas tree (shout out to my local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts’ Christmas tree drive).

I’ve learned a lot this year – both as a new dad and as a new author. In fact, as crazy as it may sound, I think there’s a strong connection between the two. Think of it this way: from the moment you get home from the hospital (or start your very first manuscript), your baby (and your baby) relies on you 100% in order to make it. If you don’t care for it, feed it, change it, or encourage it to get stronger, well… you can fill in the rest. The amount of love I have for my son is unbounded. And, similarly, but in a different kind of way, I love the craft of storytelling and put a gigantic amount of effort into becoming a better author with each book I write.

That’s really it. I just thought I’d share how thankful I am for 2013 and what’s been going through my head as I look to flipping the next page of the calendar (I don’t really have one anymore… the one with pages, at least) and the needles of my first real, and quickly becoming “less-alive”, Christmas tree rain down on my dog sleeping beneath it.

Oh… and one more thing:

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 9.28.35 PM

 

The third and final book in The Rithhek Cage Trilogy is underway!

Happy New Year, everyone :)

Darren

Christmas came early…

… well, sort of.

The Peregrine Prophecy (horizontal)

It’s here! The Peregrine Prophecy paperback (270 pages of Tholann goodness).

photo 2

I opted for the ‘glossy’ finish this time around (have since changed The Cloudstone Key to glossy as well) and despite what some of my author friends had warned me of, Createspace’s cover stock appears to be of good quality. And thanks to Damon, the image… well… it’s flippin’ awesome is what it is!

photo

Merry Christmas everyone (if we don’t speak before)!

Darren

A tale of two giveaways

As the timer ticks down on my most recent Goodreads giveaway, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve observed and learned.  Hopefully those of you considering a Goodreads giveaway in the future will take something away from this.

Here are the details on the two giveaways I’m referring to:

The Cloudstone Key (ran November 20 to December 4) = 14 days open
TCK giveaway
The Peregrine Prophecy (ran December 5 to 14) = 9 days open [effective duration = 7.5 days*]
TPP giveaway

Here are the variables I played with to see how they impacted the results:

  1. Time: I varied the duration of both giveaways (14 days for Cloudstone and 7.5 days* for Peregrine).
  2. Status: The Peregrine Prophecy giveaway coincided with its public release (December 14; was ‘pre-released’ on December 10). The Cloudstone Key giveaway was for a book that had already been listed on Amazon for over three months.

My observations:

  • The ‘new release’ vs ‘existing title’ didn’t have a noticeable impact on my uptake. I averaged around 90 to 110 entries per day over both giveaways.
  • While the duration is an important consideration, I don’t think it’s what really drives success (read: getting the most people to sign up that you can). Instead, having a great cover and compelling copy are the two more prominent variables.  And when I say “copy”, it isn’t necessary that you copy and paste what your Amazon description verbatim. In fact, I advise against it. What I went with instead (thanks to some excellent advice from Emlyn) is a very brief summary of your synopsis – make it punchy – along with a smattering of reviews/what people are saying.
  • Given that the duration for Cloudstone was approximately twice as long as the duration for Peregrine, I am expecting to see the final count for Peregrine somewhere around half of what Cloudstone was (or ~750). As of 10:41PM PST (just over an hour left) there are 671 people requesting. So… I’m almost there.
  • Mention up front (i.e., at the beginning of your description of the giveaway) that they are ‘signed copies’ (read: you must sign them).  This is a good idea. A really good idea.
  • Schedule your giveaway to start on Wednesday or Thursday and end on an “unpopular/unimportant” date in the future.  Also, try to avoid spanning any major holidays.  I overlapped US Thanksgiving on my first and bumped up close to Christmas on my second.  Not a big make or break factor, just something to be mindful of.

I hope that helps… and good luck with your Goodreads giveaways!

Darren

* I “inadvertently” derailed the giveaway window for Peregrine for almost two days by making an edit to the description on a Saturday morning. KEY TAKE AWAY: do not make changes to your listing while it’s active – ESPECIALLY ON THE WEEKEND – Goodreads will automatically take it down for approval (I should have read the fine print on this one… consider yourself warned)

Snap it. Mark it.

With Christmas just around the corner, I’m feeling like giving away some gifts!

So… here’s the deal.  Take a picture ["snap it"] of you holding/reading a copy of either The Cloudstone Key or The Peregrine Prophecy (ebook or paperback) and post it in the comment section (or email me at darren [dot] patrick [at] me [dot] com), and I will send you a Rithhek Cage bookmark ["mark it"]!  See the shiny new bookmarks below:

 

Rithhek Cage Bookmark

 

I’m not quite sure how one uses a physical bookmark in an ebook, but I trust you’ll make sure it finds a good home between some physical pages. To those with physical copies of either of the books, well… that’s pretty straightforward.

I’ve got a 10 bookmarks to give away and it’ll be first snapped, first served.

ps – it doesn’t matter where you live on the planet.  You’ll get your bookmark.  Damn straight!

 

The Hobbit… and four books

I’ll be the first to admit that Tolkien’s The Hobbit had a big influence on me growing up in the fantasy genre. He was a master of the craft. And I’m a big fan.

Something else I am is blown away.

Four Books
When Fantasy Book Lane released its list of four books likely to please fans of The Hobbit (in advance of the upcoming release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) earlier today, I had to do a double take.

To even be included in the same topic of discussion as Tolkien’s work/Jackson’s movies is an honor!  Lana, Rob and Mary are excellent writers… and I’m flattered to be included in such a group.

 

They’re here!

Look what showed up on my doorstep today!

The-Cloudstone-Key-paperback (500w)

If I’m honest, it’s a bit surreal. Not in a strange kind of way though,  just in a “I-can’t-believe-I-wrote-something-on-my-computer-and-now-I-can-actually-turn-the-pages” kind of way. I guess this is what it feels like to “really” have written a book!

Update on the Goodreads giveaway (which ended today): there were over 1,500 people requesting two signed copies of The Cloudstone Key!  Congrats to the two winners – in Virginia and Denmark! [yep, Goodreads really is a global company]  Your copies will be on their way shortly.