The Amazing Million Dollar Ebook Experiment: July Sales

Amazing new stupendous ebook developments this month!Okay, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement, but I have discovered that "free" sells. Or at least it leads to numerous downloads. About the middle of June I made this book free on iBooks and Smashwords: And now it's free on Kindle (just click the above image but click right now because this offer is only good for 12 10 9 minutes--kidding, I was going all slap chop on ya). There is a trick to this because you can't actually just choose "free" on Kindle. Instead Amazon will set your price to the same as the competition. So once Amazon "noticed" that Draugr was free on other websites it automatically made it free on Amazon kindle. Even though I'd read about other people having "free" success, it isn't until you see it for yourself that you believe it. The book became free on Kindle somewhere around July 6th. Within a day it had shot up the "free" charts to as high as #52. By that time there had been 2000 downloads. In the next two days there were another 3000 downloads. Then it began to drop out of the top 100 and the downloads have slowed to about 100 a day so that the total for July is 7402 copies. To put this in perspective the book first came out in 1997 and sold 5000 copies in the space of a year. It took 4 days to "sell" that same amount for free. So Amazon's distribution model really does work (no surprise, eh). In that same time only about 80 copies were downloaded free on iBooks and 0 on Smashwords. What? You want to see a chart? Okay!

This chart shows the # of total sales I've made in the last six months (it's the tiny column second from the right) and the green column is the total free books I've given away. Now how to get those "free" people to buy books? Ah, there's the rub and the dub (and why I did the little experiment). I hope that over time there will be an increase in the sales of the other two books in the series: Aren't they cute? Don't you just want to take them home and cuddle them (on your eReader that is)? Anyway, my theory is that this massive # of downloads will lead to more sales of these two books in the next few months as people read Draugr. Or those thousands of copies of Draugr might sit unloved on people's kindles. Poor electronic words...just waiting to be read. I was pleasantly surprised that there was an immediate increase: Drang sold 4 copies in June and jumped to 18 copies in July on Kindle. Loki sold 7 copies in June and leapfrogged to 16 copies in July on Kindle. So that's a nice increase for both the books. Obviously, I'm not going to get rich from that (it is an extra $69.36 in my pocket, tho, since I make 2.04 per book--they sell for $2.99).

But what about my total sales you ask? Ah, I knew you wanted to see another chart. Consider yourself charted:

As you can see by that chart sales stayed steady for July. Here are the totally exciting numbers:

Feb: 12 March: 43 April: 377 May: 274 June: 139

July: 148

So there hasn't been a huge jump. In fact DUST sold 77 copies on Kindle in June and 79 in July. Gee, that is consistent! I still plan on keeping DUST at .99 cents until I've sold 1000 copies (it's at 727 right now). As a point of interest 126 copies of my books were sold on Kindle this month and 21 on B&N (0 on Smashwords and 0 on iBooks--hmmm guess buying every Apple product in existence doesn't help e-book sales). I don't know what that means other than, well, Kindle is king obviously. The good news is I've nearly sold 1000 copies in total. That should happen next month. Oh, and I haven't included Kobo numbers in this because they don't send me my report until mid way through the month...but I only expect 4 or 5 more sales through them.
By this point I had hoped I'd be making enough money to be on a beach somewhere with my feet up while I hired retired ewoks or sasquatches to bash out my novels. I mean isn't that what the internet promised? Easy riches? But I'm satisfied with chugging along. I've done all the experiments that I can think of so far (other than releasing a brand new book--which is in the works) but I may make other books free (there is a theory that if you make a book free and then switch it to "paid" status it will jump up the charts--there are many theories in the e-book biz, I'm finding. is like a bunch of pig entrails that we're all staring at to find the future).
Anyway, it's still fun. And yo! Look over there--it's a  another rainbow to chase!