Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Experience with Kindle Select

I hestitated before posting my novel, Vestal Virgin--Suspense in Ancient Rome, in Amazon's new Kindle Select. The program allows subscribers to Amazon Prime to borrow one book per month, and writers involved in the program spit a pot of $500,000.00

The hitch was I had to remove the book from all Amazon competitors: Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, iTunes--and leave it off those sites for three months. It meant I was completey dependent on Amazon for sales.

I hesitated, but I jumped--partly because being part of Kindle Select would allow me to promote my book for free for five days of my choice. I used three of those days this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In those three days the book was downloaded about 5,000 times. This gained Vestal Virgin the rank of #117 in Free in ebooks on Amazon US, #38 Free in ebooks on Amazon UK. This gained the book tremendous visibility, but it also wiped out all the also-boughts that the book has garnered in the past year. Now my also-boughts are unrelated books and freebies.

When the book went back to $3.99 yesterday the rank was not too fab: about 19,000 in Kindle in the US. I wasn't particularly pleased. What had I gained? To that date I'd only had 9 people borrow the book.

But a few hours later, things began to change. Readers were borrowing the book--a day later my "borrows" have jumped from 9 to 33. And the sales rank for the book has been hovering at just over 1,000. The book is showing up on a number of bestseller lists--for example: #2 in historical suspense.

Consequently, I'm really pleased with my experiment. We'll see if sales sustain! Here are the stats from about an hour ago (9pm Rocky Mt Time, December 20):

·                                 Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

·                                 Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,078 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

o                                              #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > History > Ancient > Rome

o                                              #3 in Books > History > Ancient > Rome

o                                              #7 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance

Update Wednesday 12/21/11: Rank still dropping...

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)


Ruth Harris said...

Suzanne, thanks for posting this. Very helpful. I'm still undecided about Select & appreciate your input. Sounds like Select is working well for you. Why do you think the borrowing rate went up? The exposure you received from "Free"?

Suzanne Tyrpak said...

Yes, Ruth. I attribute the upswing in borrowing to the boost the book received by going free.

I chose to enter Vestal Virgin in Select because most of my sales were on Amazon. I don't think I'll keep the book in the program for more than three months, but I do think I'll enter my new book soon.

Hunter F. Goss said...

Glad your exercise with Kindle Select turned out well so far. I’ve been watching a number of authors’ experiences with it and it seems like you might be an ideal case. You have a large enough readership and enough titles up for a lending structure to benefit you.

Let us know how things go over the longer haul.

Suzanne Tyrpak said...

Thanks for stopping by, Hunter. I think the fact that the book has a number of good reviews (due to being out for a year) has helped.
I'm curious to see how things go with a brand new book.